Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag wants to sign PSV Eindhoven star Cody Gakpo and Rafael Leao of AC Milan to improve his side’s attack, according to reports.
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Gakpo has been a long-term target for United and appeared set to leave the Eredivisie club this summer. The 23-year-old has attracted Premier League attention and has spoken about the Red Devils’ interest in his services.
The Netherlands international – who has scored in each of his side’s two World Cup games – has stayed at PSV this season as United instead chose to sign Antony from Ajax. But the Red Devils are set to re-enter the market in January for a new forward.
United have saved £16m on wages with Cristiano Ronaldo, ending his relationship with the club by mutual consent this week, after his interview with Piers Morgan. His exit has further depleted his club’s attacking ranks.
Rashford and Anthony Martial are the only remaining senior strikers at the club, with Antony, Anthony Elanga, Garnacho and Jadon Sancho the options in the wide forward positions.
But, United are short in attacking numbers as Ten Hag prefers to play three forward players. With a busy schedule ahead, the manager wants signings.
A report from ESPN has reinforced the information that Gakpo is a key target for United during the January transfer window after Ronaldo’s departure. The Dutchman is mainly a left-sided attacking player but is also comfortable playing centrally.
His versatility is highly valued by Ten Hag and the manager has shown that Rashford can often be selected in the central position, which would facilitate Gakpo playing on the left and Antony on the right in his first-choice attacking line-up, with Sancho, Elanga, Martial and Garnacho as back-ups.
It is also claimed that Leao is on Ten Hag’s radar, having netted 14 goals for Milan last campaign and already chalking up seven strikes in 20 games this campaign. The 23-year-old netted in Portugal’s World Cup win over Ghana.
While it is unlikely that more than one attacker will be added to United in January, it is clear that Ten Hag is insistent on improving his squad, with the wages freed up by Ronaldo’s exit making such a move financially possible.