Manchester United has been shown by Man City and Liverpool what they require from their upcoming forward addition.

Next year, Manchester United wants to add a forward, but it should be clear what kind of player they need by now.

Manchester United’s decision-makers are already considering the scale of their transfer business next summer, even though the season is just four games old.

The biggest clubs always have one or two windows in mind, and since January is typically unimportant for those teams, it is the summer that concentrates their thoughts. United already knows what they will require in 2024.

The team has undergone a tremendous transformation under Erik ten Hag. He has spent more than £400 million on signing a goalkeeper, a center defender, a left back, four central midfielders, a right winger, and a striker over the course of two transfer windows. But there is no denying that more has to be done.

There is a fair probability that a right-back will be towards the top of the list by next summer, but obviously a lot can change between now and then. If Victor Lindelof or Harry Maguire depart, another center defender is probably in order, and if Anthony Martial’s Old Trafford career is coming to an end as predicted, another forward will likely play a significant role.

Rasmus Hojlund, 20, was purchased by United for £72 million this summer, and although though he has only appeared in slightly more than 30 minutes of game time, it must be assumed that he will serve as the team’s primary striker for many years to come. But he is unable to handle it alone.

Martial is currently the likely candidate to provide the support, although this is his eighth season with the team, and he’s only had one really strong year. He’s also more prone to injuries.

Therefore, John Murtough and Ten Hag will probably hunt for a replacement for Hojlund next summer, but the striker doesn’t have to fit the same mold. They like Brighton’s Evan Ferguson, like every major club, but after signing Hojlund, a deal for Ferguson seems unlikely.

At a comparable age and with a similar profile, both are pure No. 9s. They perform at their best in the middle of the field, near the penalty spot. It’s difficult to picture them playing together, and neither one seems to have the potential to develop into a wide forward.

That wide forward, a versatile attacker who can play on the flanks or as a center forward, is what United really needs. Only Arsenal has two attackers among the other five of the big six, and Gabriel Jesus, who has done so for Brazil and Manchester City, is capable of playing out wide.

Erling Haaland, a fantastic backup striker, and Julian Alvarez, who can drop in and play as an attacking midfielder and is doing so to great effect right now, are both available to City. Cody Gakpo, Diogo Jota, and Darwin Nunez are three attackers in Jurgen Klopp’s squad that can play either centrally or wide for Liverpool.

At Chelsea, Nicolas Jackson has played as the center-forward, but players like Raheem Sterling and Christopher Nkunku are capable of playing both positions. Similar situations exist at Tottenham, where Richarlison and Son-Heung Min can play wide but have started the season in the center.

These days, that is more or less the vogue. There aren’t many true No. 9s who only play that position, especially at the highest level. Attackers can frequently work around a three-man front line instead. The only purpose of another pure striker for United is to fill in for Hojlund. They require a second Rashford, someone who can play at least a few different roles in the attack.

Next summer, when looking to add an attacking player, it should be the top priority. Ten Hag has only made one-dimensional transfers there thus far in terms of positions. Hojlund is only a striker, and Antony is only a right winger.

However, the majority of forwards today have multiple skills. Even if Ferguson may appear nice, United should be focusing on that instead of a player like him next summer.






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