The transfer window is now in full swing, although you would not know it if you were only following Manchester United – as they are yet to hand Erik ten Hag with a new signing this summer
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Erik ten Hag is yet to work his magic at Manchester United, but the Dutchman is already being short-changed of resources.
United are no longer the heavyweight that they once were, and after four permanent managers have tried and failed in the wake of Sir Alex Ferguson, it proves that the problems are much deeper than a lack of leadership. Ten Hag is well aware of the job he is taking on, and even addressed this during his first press conference as United boss.
Ten Hag said: “The plan is huge and we only have a short time.” But the United bosses have already ignored the Dutchman’s hint, and they could be setting him up for failure before he’s even been given a chance.
The summer transfer window may have only just opened, but multiple Premier League teams have already completed deals. Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham are all amongst the big hitters to get their spending underway, and Liverpool have reportedly already finished their business.
But United are yet to start, and despite multiple links to various signings, so far nothing is over the line. So far 11 first team players have left the club, and serious investment is needed.
Ten Hag joins United off the back of their worst ever Premier League season to date, and the Dutchman is lucky to even be competing in the Europa League in his first campaign. But despite all these warning signs, Ten Hag is excited for the job ahead, as he said: “I do not see it as a risk. I think this club has a great history, and now let’s make a future.”
But Ten Hag was also guaranteed investment, and the final say over signings. And technically, United have stuck to their word so far, but only because there haven’t been any.
United are a few signings away from vastly improving, but currently their only striker will be 38 by the end of next season, their midfield is extremely weak, and neither Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of Ralf Rangnick could agree on their best defense. Therefore, you’d assume that making a quick start in the transfer market would be a priority.
But while City and Liverpool have secured new forwards, and Arsenal and Tottenham have strengthened both in defense and midfield, United have been left with their current crop. Ten Hag has been chasing the likes of Frenkie de Jong, Antony and Christian Eriksen, but they’re no closer to completing any deals.
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On the flip side, you do not want to rush into signings players, and Ten Hag has already admitted he is “in the process of analyzing”. But as time progresses, the top talent will be snapped up elsewhere, and United will slip back into their old habits.
Whereas City and Liverpool choose players to fit their system, United tend to panic and splash out large sums of money to sign the ‘best’ option in the market. And in recent years it’s hard to highlight any of their signings as an overriding success.
You can change the man in charge, but if the way the club is operated stays the same, then it will always lead to a similar result. If United want to finally succeed, and stop the curse at the club, they have to back Ten Hag like the promised. The Dutchman has a system, and he will need time. But they can not allow the job to become even tougher than it already is.