Ralf Rangnick sought to sign a replacement striker in the aftermath of Mason Greenwood’s suspension, but the Manchester United board refused, citing the club’s scouting department.
The disclosure was revealed by United’s interim manager when detailing events in the final two days of January, when Greenwood was suspended, leaving United with less than 48 hours to acquire a replacement as the manager recommended.
Ralf Rangnick mentioned Luis Diaz, Julian Alvarez, and Dusan Vlahovic as three high-profile strikers who moved in the January transfer window on Friday, but following discussions with the scouting department, the board eventually banned any deal.
“At the time, we had four days off.” “I believe it was a Sunday when I was notified about the Mason Greenwood situation, and Anthony Martial had already left, and then I realized that we had some strikers missing within four days and that it might make sense (to buy),” he stated.
“We were still in three competitions at the time, the FA Cup and the Champions League; we were fourth in the league at the time.” We lost three long-term strikers during the international break, including Edinson Cavani. We then struggled to score goals and maintain our equilibrium. This is what took place.
“Perhaps I still believe we should have attempted in those 48 hours, but the board sees it the same way, and they agreed, but they also met with the scouting department at the same time as I did.”
“Perhaps we should have tried to recruit a player in these 48 hours, knowing Mason wouldn’t be available and Anthony Martial had already gone on loan.”
“We were also aware that Edinson Cavani might not be available for eight out of ten games, but we didn’t do anything about it.” Maybe I should have pushed harder for this extra striker, but like I said, we didn’t, and now it’s time to look forward.”
With Martial allowed to join Sevilla and questions over Cavani’s fitness, United prevented England striker Jesse Lingard from leaving.
After Greenwood was suspended and ultimately arrested on suspicion of rape and assault on the final Sunday of the month, only 48 hours before the window closed on January 31, Rangnick was still looking for a new striker.
“At the time, the answer was no; there was no player on the market who could truly assist us,” he stated. “I’m not sure why.” No, and that was the end of it.
“There were a few… Diaz, who is now at Liverpool, Alvarez, who will join Man City this summer, and Vlahovic, who was still with Fiorentina at the time.” So those are the only three that spring to me right now. I’m not sure (if we could have signed them). But, as I previously stated, perhaps we should have at least discussed it internally. It could be necessary and significant.
“I spoke to the board and said, ‘Shouldn’t we at least discuss and analyze and see if we can acquire a player, either on loan or on a permanent deal?’ Finally, the answer was no. No, they didn’t want to do anything in the cold (business). It makes no difference; the answer was no.
“I still believe we should have given it our best shot.” It would have been short notice anyway if we had identified and been able to sign a player within 48 hours, but 48 hours is 48 hours. It could have been worthwhile to try to talk about it internally. We didn’t succeed. It was not completed.”
United’s whole scouting department appears to be undergoing a reorganization this summer, with two senior employees, chief scout Jim Lawlor and head of global scouting Marcel Bout, announcing their departure last month.
Despite not playing for nearly three months, Greenwood remains United’s third-highest league goalscorer with five, trailing only Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes, and Ralf Rangnick has frequently cited his absence as one of the significant factors in the club’s bad season.
Captain Harry Maguire has recovered from a knee “niggle” and is available to play against Brighton on Saturday. Marcus Rashford, the England attacker, is now out with bronchitis.