Erik ten Hag can give Frenkie de Jong what Manchester United could not give Erling Haaland – Richard Fay

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Manchester United might have a clear idea of ​​which players they’d like to bring to the club in the summer transfer window. Whether they’ll be able to bring those players in, though, is another matter entirely.

With transfer windows across Europe opening this Friday, there has already been a flurry of activity across the continent and some United supporters are beginning to show signs of impatience as they await news of an arrival at Old Trafford.

A key reason why United wanted to have their new manager in place before the end of the season was so that they would waste no time in finalizing a list of transfer targets, but that was just the first part of the challenge.

READ MORE: Paul Pogba’s parting comment to Manchester United proved Roy Keane was right all along

Andy O’Boyle was appointed as the club’s inaugural deputy football director so that John Murtough could focus primarily on recruitment, and regular meetings have been held with Erik ten Hag and his backroom staff to establish a plan of action.

Now comes the tricky part: actually convincing those targets to move to Old Trafford.

Two years ago, Alf-Inge Haaland revealed that a key reason why his son Erling did not sign for United was the uncertainty surrounding Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s future at the club.

“You have to go to a club where the whole club wants you, not just the coach,” his father, “he said. “I think that’s the most important thing, in addition to how the club has been over the last five or ten years and what direction they’ve taken. Because it’s dangerous to just sign for a coach, because he can suddenly be sacked.”

The first task for Ten Hag will be to sell his vision for the club and provide assurances that while they hope a new recruit will contribute to success next season, they will still have a United future if things do not go according to plan.

This is one of the stumbling blocks in a move for Frenkie de Jong this summer, with the Dutchman not particularly sold on swapping the Nou Camp for Old Trafford at this moment in time.

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Another obstacle the new United manager must overcome is compensating for the lack of Champions League football on offer. United have actually tended to spend more money in the summers when they have been preparing for a campaign in the Europa League. See the deal to sign Paul Pogba six years ago.

Missing out on the Champions League isn’t a full-blown disaster for the summer recruitment strategy, although some players might well demand it, but any new recruit will need to be confident of their chances of qualifying for it next year at least before they put pen to paper.



Jurrien Timber has been warned about a move to Manchester United ahead of the World Cup later this year over fears it could affect his chances of being selected.

Perhaps the most important factor this year, however, is the World Cup.

With the biggest tournament in football being hosted in the winter, players will only have a few months of the new season to hit the ground running and cement their places in their respective national teams in Qatar.

It means those on the periphery might well be cautious about a move to United, particularly if they play in a position where Ten Hag already has plenty of options at his disposal.

Midfielders should not really be affected by this, given United’s clear need for at least one starter this summer, but in defense there is so much competition that a new recruit might worry they will have to wait for their chance.

Jurrien Timber is believed to be cautious about a move because he’d have no certainty of regular playing time and international boss Louis van Gaal has already warned him against making the decision this week. Fellow center-back target Pau Torres wants to start every match for Spain at the World Cup and will only move this summer if he is given such assurances about a regular role in the team.

Ten Hag might already know exactly who he wants to sign this summer, but now he needs to convince them.

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