Erik ten Hag slams Manchester United’s ‘unimaginable’ transfer business in previous seasons

Erik ten Hag slams Manchester United’s ‘unimaginable’ transfer business in previous seasons

Erik ten Hag has hit out at Manchester United’s transfer business in previous seasons, believing an “unimaginable” amount of signings have not been up to the necessary standards.

The Dutchman took over at Old Trafford in the summer, following Ralf Rangnick’s unsuccessful spell as interim manager after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked.

Frenkie de Jong was linked with Man United, and a reunion with Ten Hag, for much of the summer window but ultimately did not make the move to England.

It was still a business period for the club though as Lisandro Martinez and Antony were signed from Ajax, while Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen and Casemiro also arrived.

All five of those, according to Ten Hag, have the personality required to be a United player.

“The club has bought an unimaginable number of players in recent years who have not been good enough,” Ten Hag said.

“Most purchases have been average - and at United average is not good enough. United’s shirt weighs heavily. Only real personalities, who can perform under great pressure, can play here.

“We needed personalities. That’s why the acquisition of Casemiro was so important. Along with Raphael Varane, we now have a second player who has experience of winning titles.

“Malacia, Martinez, Casemiro, Antony are all fighters, while Christian Eriksen is a technical winner and a great personality. We want the best of the best. Any players we bring to Manchester United must meet the highest standard.”

While Ten Hag’s reign got off to a disastrous start with defeats to Brighton and Brentford, it’s been an impressive turnaround since then and the club sit fourth in the Premier League table.

They are only four points off rivals Manchester City in second, with Ten Hag determined to bring back the “spirit” at the club as he looks to get them challenging for a first Premier League title since 2013.

“Manchester United didn’t exactly have the fear factor last season,” Ten Hag said.

“There was no spirit. I saw no team dynamic in the squad. The mental resilience was very low. I saw that as an outsider - and also noticed it in my first weeks at the club. I looked at the culture of the club. I asked ‘how did Manchester United become great?’

“And for me, it was about Sir Alex Ferguson. His teams excelled in togetherness, collectivity, spirit. You just couldn’t beat them.”