When Erik ten Hag took over as the new Manchester United manager, the priorities were improving a leaking defence and adding steel and guile to the centre of the park.
And while the major flaws were corrected in the summer, new issues have sprung up during the course of the season, the most major of which was the acrimonious departure of last season’s top goal-scorer Cristiano Ronaldo.
With both Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial not exactly covering themselves in glory in that crucial position, the Dutchman has publicly admitted that the club needs to bring in an elite centre-forward.
United’s complicated striker hunt
Pre-World Cup, a few of them would have made sense considering their relatively modest valuations but almost all the players mentioned enjoyed a brilliant tournament.
And that has led to prices soaring and with United’s current financial issues, it does not look likely that the club can afford to back the manager in January.
One surprising name that emerged from reports yesterday was Alvaro Morata of Atletico Madrid. He was on fire for Spain during the World Cup despite not getting too many minutes.
He finished the competition with three goals and one assist in four games despite starting only once. And he has starred for his club side in La Liga as well.
As Manchester United come to terms with the exit of Cristiano Ronaldo this winter, they will likely look for another forward in January.
Alvaro Morata is one of the names that has been mentioned. pic.twitter.com/yzfiKHJlqk
— Football España (@footballespana_) December 15, 2022
Morata has notched five goals and one assist in 14 games for the Madrid giants and has even managed to keep out United target Felix from the starting line-up.
However, as per transfer specialist Fabrizio Romano, United enjoy a fantastic relationship with Atletico and they do not intend to pursue Morata as of now.
Morata not leaving in January
“Atletico Madrid and Manchester United have an excellent relationship but Alvaro Morata is not something being discussed as of now, despite reports.
“I think he has good chances to stay at Atleti until the end of the season, but let’s see if that changes in the next weeks,” said Romano on his exclusive CaughtOffside Substack column.
Back during Jose Mourinho‘s reign, Morata was heavily linked with a move to the Red Devils only for him to end up at Chelsea where he struggled for form and consistency.