Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has admitted the club need to make signings before the summer transfer deadline. But he has indicated that it’s Frenkie de Jong or nothing in terms of midfield options as uncertainty looms over his priority target.
United have been chasing De Jong all summer and agreed an initial £63million deal with Barcelona weeks ago. However, issues over deferred salary payments, adding up to £17m, owed to the player have derailed the club’s attempts to get the transfer over the line in the final stages.
Ahead of United’s Premier League opener against Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday, Ten Hag has stressed the need for players, but only ones who fit the right profile in his Old Trafford rebuild. The Dutchman added that he’s content with his current squad, suggesting he might not bolster his midfield ranks further if De Jong is unattainable.
He told reporters: “We want Frenkie? It’s about the right players… At this moment, we have players in that position who perform really well. It would be a good situation [to sign more players], but I am happy with the current squad. We need players. You don’t need any player; you need the right player.”
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Ten Hag guides United into his first competitive game as manager this weekend, but his starting line-up could feature no new signings. The Red Devils have recruited Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez so far this summer, but neither of their places in the side are confirmed.
However, Ten Hag confirmed that Eriksen and Martinez, who accumulated less than 90 minutes each during pre-season due to their late arrivals, are fit to start. Whether he starts Malacia over an established player like Luke Shaw at left-back is another big decision on his shoulders.
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Ten Hag will be keen to start life as United boss on a positive note and avoid sending the supporters home unhappy from Old Trafford. The Dutchman is bound to be confident after being handed a somewhat favourable opening month in the Premier League, barring Liverpool’s visit on August 22.
After hosting Brighton, United travel to Brentford and Southampton, both tipped to battle relegation this season, on either side of the mouth-watering Liverpool clash. Given the turmoil Ten Hag inherited this summer on the back of a nightmare 2021/22 campaign, it’s imperative his side come flying out the blocks on Sunday.
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