All hopes of Victor Osimhen switching Napoli for Manchester United in this winter transfer window may not manifest as Manager of the Red Devils, Erik ten Hag, admitted yesterday that UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rule has ruled the English Premier League giants out of signing new players.
United, who will visit Newport County in the FA Cup fourth round today, lost forward Anthony Martial until April due to injury, leaving them with limited options in attack.
Forward Rasmus Hojlund, who was signed for £72 million in the close season, has only scored two goals in the Premier League so far, while Marcus Rashford has four.
“I looked but there is no space. There is no space for FFP to do something about this lack of quantity in the striker position,” Ten Hag told reporters.
“Of course, Rashford can play as a striker. We have some other alternatives but it’s clear that Anthony is out for a couple of months and it’s a gap in our squad.”
The club signed midfielder Mason Mount and goalkeeper Andre Onana for big money in the close season and have spent more than £400 million in the last two seasons.
United are eighth in the Premier League, 16 points behind leaders Liverpool and Ten Hag admitted the FA Cup was their last chance of silverware this season.
“FA Cup probably is a last opportunity on the trophy and we go for it,” Ten Hag said.
United have been plagued by injury woes this season with defender Harry Maguire and Mount still sidelined.
Midfielder Casemiro and defenders Luke Shaw and Lisandro Martinez are available for Sunday, however, and goalkeeper Altay Bayindir will make his debut in the absence of Onana, who is away at Africa Cup of Nations.
However, Napoli President, Aurelio De Laurentiis , said yesterday that Osimhen will leave the Italian team in the summer.
De Laurentiis was responding to an interview that Osimhen, who is with Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations, gave to American television network CBS, in which the 25-year-old striker said he had already “made up” his mind about his next move.
Questioned by Italian media after a meeting of the Italian Football League, De Laurentiis said he was not surprised, even though Osimhen signed a contract extension with the Italian champions in December.
Italian media have reported that the contract contains a release clause of between €120 and €130 million.
Osimhen was the top scorer in Serie A last season, hitting 26 goals to propel Napoli to their first league title since 1990.
De Laurentiis said he had been preparing for Osimhen to leave ever since.
“We’ve known all this since last summer, which is also why negotiations for the extension of his contract, although friendly, took so long,” De Laurentiis said.
“We know he’s either going to Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain or an English club.”
Osimhen, voted African Player of the Year last year, joined Napoli from Lille in 2020 and has scored 67 goals in 119 appearances in all competitions.