Ralf Rangnick reveals he was overruled in bid to buy a striker in January

Ralf Rangnick wanted to sign a new striker for Manchester United in January but had his plea rejected by the board on the advice of the club’s scouting department.

The United interim made his appeal after Mason Greenwood was suspended with just two days left before the winter window closed.

But he was stunned to have it rejected, even though the board initially agreed, and pointed to the likes of Luis Diaz, Julian Alvarez and Dusan Vlahovic as high-profile strikers who could have been January targets.

Rangnick concedes he does not know if United could have hijacked any of those deals but was still desperate to make a signing.

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“In that international break we lost, including Edinson Cavani, three strikers long-term,” said Rangnick.

“Then we had problems to score goals and find our balance. This is what happened.

“Maybe I still believe that we should have tried in those 48 hours, the board meanwhile sees it the same way, they agreed, but they also spoke to the scouting department at the same time as me.

“Maybe we should have tried to sign a player in these 48 hours since we knew Mason wouldn’t be available and Anthony Martial had already left on loan.

“We also, at least, were aware that Edinson Cavani might not be available for eight out of 10 games but we didn’t. Maybe I should have pushed even more in order to get this additional striker but, as I said, we didn’t and now it’s time to look ahead.”

Rangnick made his case to the board after Greenwood was suspended, and later arrested on suspicion of rape and assault on the last Sunday in the month, barely 48 hours before the window closed on 31 January .

“The answer at the time was no, there is no player on the market that can really help us,” Rangnick added. “I don’t know why. The answer was no and that was it.

“There were a few… Diaz who is now at Liverpool, Alvarez who will be at Man City in the summer, Vlahovic who at the time was still with Fiorentina. So those are just three of them that come across my mind now.

“I don’t know [if we could have signed them]. But as I said, maybe we should have at least internally discussed it. It might be necessary and important.

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“I spoke to the board and told them ‘shouldn’t we at least speak and analyse and find if we can at least get a player, on loan or a permanent deal?’.

“In the end the answer was no. The answer was no, maybe they didn’t want to do any winter [business]. It doesn’t matter, the answer was no.

“I still believe we should have at least tried. If we would have found and been able within 48 hours [to sign a player], it would have been short notice anyway but still, 48 hours is 48 hours. It might have been at least worth to try and internally discuss it. We didn’t. It was not done.”

United’s entire scouting department looks poised for a total restructure this summer and two senior members, chief scout Jim Lawlor and head of global scouting Marcel Bout, announced last month that they are leaving the club.

Rangnick has often pointed to the loss of Greenwood, who had scored five goals in 16 Premier League starts at that point, as one of the key moments which have led to such a poor campaign for the club.

“I’m sure [it was],” he said. “The issue around Mason was a disaster for everybody. It was a human disaster, it’s a personal… it’s not good for himself, obviously, and for his family it hasn’t been good but it also hasn’t been good for our club. He was regularly playing at the time.”

United visit Brighton on Saturday with captain Harry Maguire having recovered from a knee “niggle’ and available for selection. England forward Marcus Rashford is unavailable, however, having caught bronchitis.

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