Erik ten Hag says financial fair play restrictions will prevent Manchester United from acting in the January transfer window to fill the “gap” in attack left by Anthony Martial’s extended absence.
This has been a quiet month across the board and the Red Devils have focused on streamlining the squad rather than bolstering it.
Jadon Sancho, Donny van de Beek and Hannibal Mejbri are among those to have left on loan, with United always expected to do little to nothing in terms of signings.
“I looked but there is no space,” United boss Ten Hag said. “No space on FFP to do something about this lack of quantity in the striker position.
“Of course, we have (Marcus) Rashford who can play as a striker, I think also we have some other alternatives, creative.
“It’s clear now Anthony is out for a couple of months. It’s a gap in our squad. Clear.”
“It gives spirit in this whole club,” Ten Hag said of the impact felt even before Ratcliffe’s deal is given the green light.
“Everyone notices that this club is going into a period of changes but it’s because we want to achieve high targets, so standards have to change.
“We started with this one-and-a-half-years ago, but I’m sure Ineos and me are very aligned on this.
“But also many departments so I am very happy that I get support.
“That also other departments has to raise the standards, to collaborate more and Ineos can have a big impact on that.”
The long-term prospects look brighter but United’s immediate attention is on keeping their FA Cup hopes alive in a fourth-round tie at Newport.
It is the only competition the Red Devils can win this season and Sunday’s game will see summer signing Altay Bayindir finally make his debut between the sticks.
“I think it’s clear what we can expect from him. He waited for his chances but he is experienced.
“He played in a big club in Turkey under big pressure, so he knows how to deal with it.
“We were all very convinced when we brought him into this club. It’s not a decision from one man.
“We’re looking forward to Sunday. Altay (is) very motivated, of course, and he can’t wait for this moment.”
“It’s a strong side and we have still some injuries, like (Victor) Lindelof and (Tyrell) Malacia,” Ten Hag said.
“This morning, Rashford was ill and Evans was ill, so we have to see how they recover.
“But we have, for the rest, players returning, like (Lisandro) Martinez, like (Luke) Shaw, like (Harry) Maguire, like Casemiro, which is a good thing.”