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Man Utd boss explain why Club were right not to buy another striker

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Erik ten Hag insists Manchester United were right not to sign a second striker last summer due to Anthony Martial still being at the club amid their Financial Fair Play concerns.

The Red Devils were fined €300,000 (£257,000) back in July after committing breaches of UEFA’s FFP regulations, serving as a warning for stronger punishments if they didn’t curb their spending.

Old Trafford chiefs subsequently gave Ten Hag a smaller budget compared to his first summer transfer window in 2022.

United didn’t pursue top target Harry Kane and instead focused on Atalanta hotshot Rasmus Hojlund, who the Red Devils eventually signed for £72 million in August, a move which raised eyebrows.

With Hojlund only being 20 at the time, Ten Hag hoped that Martial would step up and take the burden off the young Dane, but he’s been left disappointed.

Martial, 28, has spent much of the season sidelined with injury and could’ve played his final game in a United shirt due to his £250,000-a-week contract expiring in June.

Now would’ve been a perfect opportunity for the France international to stake his claim for a new deal, as Hojlund has been ruled out for a few weeks after picking up a muscle injury in training following his run of eight goals in his last seven Premier League games.

Speaking after the news of Hojlund’s injury emerged on Friday, Ten Hag was asked if he regretted not bringing in another striker to supplement his options.

“We were happy to bring Rasmus Hojlund in,” the Red Devils boss explained. “We had two strikers. Martial has done great things for us last season. So he is also on high payment in this club. We should have expected more, that is the truth. But to bring in another striker, that means you rule him (Martial) totally out at the start of the season.

“Then there is Marcus Rashford so actually we had three strikers in our squad. If you bring in a fourth, the prospects for the others will get short. So I thought – we thought – we had options. I wanted to bring in a striker in the winter but it was not possible. And we already had our problems with FFP in the summer.”

With Hojlund missing this Saturday’s match at home to Fulham, Ten Hag is expected to hand a first competitive start to highly-rated academy prospect Omari Forson. The London-born 19-year-old is expected to start out wide, with Rashford playing as a central striker and Alejandro Garnacho on the other flank.

EPL

Palmer overtakes three-season Havertz stat at Chelsea

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Palmer overtakes three-season Havertz stat at Chelsea

Cole Palmer’s remarkable four-goal performance against Everton on Monday evening has propelled him to the top of the Premier League golden boot race.

With 20 goals to his name this season, he is now neck and neck with Erling Haaland in the race for the prestigious award.

His scoring spree also highlights his incredible impact at Chelsea, as he has now scored more league goals in his first seven months at the club than Kai Havertz managed in three seasons, tallying 19 goals.

Palmer’s outstanding form has been instrumental in Chelsea’s climb up the Premier League table, bringing them within just three points of sixth place.

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Champions League

‘He’s had 48 hours’ – Arsenal boss shares update on Bukayo Saka after furious penalty demand

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'He's had 48 hours' - Arsenal boss shares update on Bukayo Saka after furious penalty demand

Bukayo Saka expressed frustration at not being awarded a penalty after a clash with Manuel Neuer during Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

He confronted the referee at full-time and even followed him down the tunnel, a departure from Saka’s typically composed demeanor.

When questioned about Saka’s condition before the upcoming match against Aston Villa on Sunday, Mikel Arteta stated, “Yes, he looked fine this morning.”

“He’s had 48 hours to think about it and it’s done.”

Arteta chose not to address the incident after the game, but there was a general consensus that Saka’s contact with Neuer was minimal.

Saka faced criticism for his reaction, but given the high emotions of the game, such reactions were not uncommon.

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Champions League

Real Madrid 3-3 Man City: Valverde caps off evening of stunning goals in Champions League thriller (Video)

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Real Madrid 3-3 Man City: Valverde caps off evening of stunning goals in Champions League thriller

Manchester City and Real Madrid played out an enthralling 3-3 draw in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final, setting up an intriguing second leg at the Etihad Stadium.

City took an early lead through Bernardo Silva’s cleverly taken free-kick, but Madrid equalized twice with deflected strikes from Eduardo Camavinga and Rodrygo, which took slight touches off Ruben Dias and Manuel Akanji respectively.

Phil Foden restored City’s lead with a superb strike from outside the box, before Josko Gvardiol scored his first goal for the club with a fine right-footed shot to make it 3-2.

However, Madrid fought back once again, with Federico Valverde’s stunning volley ensuring the tie ended level.

The result leaves the quarter-final finely balanced ahead of the second leg, with City looking to replicate their 4-0 victory over Madrid in last season’s semi-finals at the Etihad Stadium.

There was a late injury concern for City as Foden hobbled off following a late tackle on his ankle, but the extent of the injury is yet to be determined.

Real Madrid vs Man City

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