Erik ten Hag confirmed Manchester United would sign a striker in the summer amid their goalscoring issues this season.

Summer signing Rasmus Hojlund is United’s top scorer with a modest 13 goals while Anthony Martial – the only other out-and-out senior striker – has not played since the reverse fixture with Bournemouth at Old Trafford on December 9 as he underwent groin surgery in January. United confirmed Martial would be sidelined for 10 weeks but that was more than 11 weeks ago. The 28-year-old is out of contract in June and will be released after nine years with United.

“I don’t know,” Ten Hag said on the prospect of Martial playing again for United. “He’s still with the medical [team]. He’s out on the pitch but if he will be available I don’t know.”

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When asked if Martial had let United down over his prolonged lay-off, Ten Hag replied: “We have scored a lot of goals lately.” Yet United still have a minus goal difference.

“So first part of the season we had a lack of goals but I think after the winter we improved a lot on that fact. I think from January on we score in every game and also lately we have scored more than one time in games.”

Martial, who has scored a measly 19 goals for United since the start of the 2020-21 campaign, only played in 28 of their 62 games last season while the £72million Hojlund, 21, arrived with a stress fracture of the back that delayed his debut by a month.

The absence of a proven and dependable goalscorer has been compounded by Marcus Rashford’s impotent form. Rashford plundered 30 goals last season but only has eight this term. But Ten Hag continued to defend United’s pre-season preparations.

“That is no doubt that we counted on him [Martial],” Ten Hag conceded. “You need two strikers in a league we are in and the competitions. You need more options. You need double positioning in every position and some positions we didn’t have the choices this season. The striker position, the left full back position and that has a negative impact on the results.

“Last season we were even shorter [up front] and came through that season very well. So the plan was quite logical to go into this season with an extra striker which we signed. That should have been enough to cover everything.

“I think it would help [to sign a striker]. As I always had in this plan we constructed that we should have had enough goals. You count on goals from Rashy – last season he had 30 – you count on goals from Martial.

“In my first season, he played very well and also in very important games he had a high impact on our performances. And then bringing in a goalscorer like Rasmus Hojlund it should have been enough goals.”