Having brought in Erik ten Hag as their new boss Manchester United ready to pounce in the transfer market this summer in the hope they can hit the ground running in the 2022-23 season
New Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is facing a huge overhaul of the club’s worst squad of the Premier League era.
United finished last season in sixth place, their meagre points haul of 58 the lowest total they have posted since the Premier League was formed 30 years ago. Against that backdrop – with fan disillusionment at an all-time low and more protests against owners the Glazers planned – United are under huge pressure to strengthen the squad with key signings.
Ten Hag wants as many as five new faces this summer, with United having lost as many first-team players – Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata and Edinson Cavani. Defense, midfield and attack all need addressing so here, Mirror Sport takes a look at five players United could sign as ten Hag embarks on his major rebuild this summer.
Having failed to convince Jurrien Timber to make the same move as him from Ajax to United, ten Hag has switched his attention to his central defensive partner, Lisandro Martinez. Yet United face competition for Argentina international Martine from Premier League rivals Arsenal, who had a £ 25million outline offer rebuffed last week. Martinez was a mainstay for ten Hag in three seasons at Ajax and is ready for a new challenge, with United likely to have to pay around £ 40m to land the 24-year-old.
Ten Hag wants competition in both full-back slots and has identified Feyenoord left-back Tyrell Malacia as an attainable target. Feyenoord are understood to want in excess of £ 15m for the 22-year-old, who is also being looked at by Newcastle and French side Lyon. Malacia made his debut for Holland last September and is expected to be part of Louis van Gaal’s Dutch squad for the World Cup in Qatar later this year. The 5ft 7in full-back is small in stature but has an impressive work ethic and is effective both defending and going forward, with ten Hag a big fan.
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Frenkie de Jong
The most protracted transfer saga of the summer so far is United’s ongoing pursuit of Barcelona’s Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong Another of ten Hag’s former Ajax players, De Jong made the switch to Barca in 2019 for £ 75m, but the financial crisis the Spanish giants find themselves in means they are willing to offload him. United are determined not to repeat mistakes of recent years by paying over the odds for players and so are sticking to their. 60m valuation of the 25-year-old Holland international. Despite that stance, United are expected to table an improved bid of around £ 65m for De Jong, with a warning to Barca they will move on to other targets if that offer is dismissed.
One of those alternative targets to De Jong is Wolves and Portugal midfielder Ruben Neves. Neves has been under consideration by United for some time, with former boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and ex-interim coach Ralf Rangnick both having recommended him to the board. Having impressed in three seasons in the Premier League, Neves, 25, is said to be ready to leave Wolves to challenge himself elsewhere, and could be available for around £ 35m.
A versatile player blessed with creative and defensive qualities, a goal threat and an impressive reading of the game, Neves is the kind of cultured player who would instantly improve United’s midfield.
Ten Hag wants to ease the burden on Cristiano Ronaldo up front by signing a versatile attacker who can play in a variety of positions across the forward line. Ajax forward Antony fits the bill, with United having started talks with the Dutch club over a deal to sign the £ 40m-rated Brazil international. Anthony, 22, who operates predominantly as a winger, was key to Ajax winning the Eredivisie title last season, with 12 goals and 10 assists from 33 games in all competitions. With Edinson Cavani and Jesse Lingard having left, and Anthony Martial set to join them, United need to bolster their attacking options, with Antony ideally suited to their needs.