Manchester United will face two obvious problems when replacing Anthony Martial this summer

Anthony Martial cuts a frustrated figure, placing his right hand over his forehead.
Anthony Martial is poised to leave Manchester United at the end of this season. -Credit:Michael Regan/Getty Images.

Whatever happens between now and the end of the season, changes are in the offing at Manchester United.

With a maximum of just eight games left to play, uncertainty surrounds Erik ten Hag's future, what European competition the club may or may not participate in next season and what the landscape of the squad will look like come next term.

Under the new regime, which is being led by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, United are planning for a mass exodus in the summer, with a record number of sales planned. United need to offload a number of players from within their ranks, but some will be harder to shift than others.

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The Reds will not have any difficulties in moving on Anthony Martial. His contract is up at the end of the season and he will be released after almost a decade in M16.

His impending exit will leave a void within the squad that will need filling. Once Martial has departed, Rasmus Hojlund will be United's only senior out-and-out centre forward.

Last week, ahead of Saturday's 2-2 draw with Bournemouth, Ten Hag confirmed he plans to beef up his forward line this forthcoming summer with the addition of a new goal-getter, saying: "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 (Marcus Rashford) - 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."

Signing a striker was United's main priority in last summer's transfer window, but there is an argument to suggest strengthening in midfield once again will take priority this time around. Casemiro's decline means the club is crying out for a new No.6 to slot in alongside Kobbie Mainoo.

It is unlikely that fulfilling that mission will come cheap, meaning United are going to have to box clever to strengthen other parts of their squad. The full-back and centre-back departments are also in need of attention.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe watches Manchester United's 4-3 defeat to Chelsea sat alongside Sir David Brailsford.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe (right) has already hinted that he wants to change the direction of Manchester United's recruitment. -Credit:Robin Jones/Getty Images.

Though there is no doubt United need another striker, Hojlund's addition to the squad last summer for an initial fee of £64million means they are unlikely to spend a similar amount on a second goal-getter in as many years. United are going to have to be mindful of the Premier League's Profit and Sustainability rules [PSR] this summer and know they need to generate funds through sales.

Amid their need for another forward, United are already being linked with the likes of Brentford's Ivan Toney, Viktor Gyökeres of Sporting Lisbon and Napoli star Victor Osimhen. Even Harry Kane is once again being linked with a move to United.

Such links are fanciful, not least because each member of that aforementioned quartet will command an eye-watering transfer fee. Gyökeres, for example, has a €100m (£85.3m at current rate) release clause in his contract.

Furthermore, it is unlikely that Ten Hag, should he remain in charge, will bring in a striker to leapfrog Hojlund in the pecking order. The Dane was signed last August to be United's first-choice striker for the long-term.

It means any striker United turn to in a bid to replace Martial this summer will almost certainly have to be content with a back-up or rotational role. Toney, Gyökeres or Osimhen would not be content with that, with each of them currently occupying the title of chief striker at their current clubs.

The Reds are going to have to be tactful when embarking on this particular mission, all while trying to avoid breaking the bank. Hojlund has scored 13 goals so far this season and will be eager to increase his output in his second campaign in England.

Striking the balance between finding someone who is happy to be second in the pecking order and not command an exaggerated price tag will present a difficult challenge for United's hierarchy. However, it is a challenge they will have to rise to.