Ralf Rangnick feels Manchester United need to strengthen in every area of the pitch apart from goalkeeper, where they have “three excellent” options.
United stopped talk of a potential walk-out demonstration by beating Brentford 3-0 in Rangnick’s final home game as interim manager.
Old Trafford had a feel-good environment for the game after a wretched season as it closed its doors for the summer with farewells to a host of first-team players who are out of contract. Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata, Phil Jones and Edinson Cavani in all probability made their final Old Trafford appearances, while Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard are also out of contract in the summer.
Rangnick told Sky Sports: “Apart from goalkeeping where we have three excellent goalkeepers in Tom Heaton, Dean Henderson and David de Gea, in all other areas there will be players leaving the club. I wouldn’t put focus on special areas of the pitch – it should go through the whole team.
“So far we haven’t been able to speak [to Ten Hag]. Erik’s focus is on winning the Dutch league, our focus was on our games.
“It’s obvious quite a few players will leave and there is a need for top-quality players. I strongly believe that if everyone works together we can bring Man Utd back to where we need to be.
“Other clubs only needed two or three transfer windows to challenge but from now on we need to bring in top-quality players who really help raise the level. If this happens then I don’t think it should take too long.”
One of the first players Erik ten Hag will need to talk to surrounding the future will be Cristiano Ronaldo, who has now scored nine of United’s last 12 goals in the Premier League with a penalty in the 3-0 win.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner won the man-of-the-match award from Sky Sports co-commentator Gary Neville.
Ronaldo’s future has been cast into doubt due to United’s likely failure to qualify for the Champions League, but his current deal runs until the summer of 2023.
Rangnick believes if Ronaldo stays next season, he will need support in central striking positions as the player himself isn’t fully comfortable at his age playing in the lone striking role.
He said: “Cristiano is not a central striker. He does not want to play in that position, in order to not play central, you have to play two strikers. If you look into international football, there are not many teams who play with two, you either have three or a false nine. It’s not a question of a position, the club needs two new strikers who give this team more quality.
“Modern strikers do not have to be wingers if you look at Liverpool and Man City, they have top strikers. Gabriel Jesus has hardly played and now he’s playing regularly. If you ask me if he’s a central striker or a winger, is Grealish a striker, they can switch and rotate. We don’t have that many. Mason Greenwood would have been those players, but he’s no longer part of the squad. Martial went on loan at Seville, Cavani has been injured.”
United were pretty comfortable against Brentford and – with Ronaldo at the forefront – looked fluid and creative in attack. The result looks to have almost guaranteed their qualification for the Europa League next term by finishing sixth or higher – instead of playing in the Europa Conference League.
“In the end I’m not happy with the results [overall], especially in the last four or five weeks,” Rangnick added.
“Until the West Ham game we were still in the race in three competitions. We had good moments until that West Ham game, we conceded fewer goals but in the last few weeks performances have not been as good as they should have been. In general we have lacked consistency.”