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United boss Erik ten Hag shuts the door on January reinforcements

Manchester United won’t be dipping into their limited budget to reinforce the squad in the January transfer window despite their on-field struggles this season.

That’s according to club manager Erik ten Hag, who is wary of the slim chances of attracting top players in the winter market and would rather improve what’s available on his roster.

United could do with another striker, considering Antony Martial and Rasmus Hojlund have been ineffective in the Premier League.

A right winger to compete with the massively underwhelming Antony could also bolster a squad which is also in dire need of reinforcement in the heart of the defence.

The need to undertake a squad rebuild is evident and emphasised by the trajectory of United’s campaign thus far. But Ten Hag would rather develop his current team and wait until summer – and for good reason.

“I don’t think so,” Ten Hag said (via The Athletic) when asked about possible January signings. 

“We have to develop and progress this team. In reality, we go to the next summer window and there will be new players coming in.

“As a club, you have to look for improvements, so if you can find better and it’s realistic financially and with financial fair play (FFP), I think the club has to go with it.

“But realistically, in relation to the market, most of the time you don’t attract the best players in the winter. 

“The top, top players will not leave their clubs in the winter. It’s players who are disappointed, injured or just not the right fit or whatever.”

Ten Hag’s assessment is right, but can United hold out until summer?

Considering the situation surrounding the players United have transfer listed ahead of the January window, it’s fair to say there’s an element of truth to Ten Hag’s assessment.

Jadon Sancho is the first name on United’s chopping block after a public fallout with the manager, while Raphael Varane and Casemiro have also been deemed surplus to requirement.

Sancho hasn’t featured since August 26, but his absence makes no difference to the team, while United have at times looked better without Casemiro in the line-up despite his enormous experience.

Harry Maguire’s resurgence suggests Varane’s services may no longer be needed, and Ten Hag will hope his favoured crop can hold the fort until reinforcements arrive next summer.

United returned to winning ways with a convincing 2-1 victory over Chelsea, putting them just three points off the Champions League places.

Considering the Red Devils tend to take their foot off the gas when gaining momentum, it’s up to Ten Hag to ensure his side build on their midweek win at home to Bournemouth this weekend.