Man Utd told £25m January transfer gamble will backfire despite summer signing proving Ten Hag right

Netherlands stars Jeremie Frimpong and Xavi Simons Credit: Alamy
Netherlands stars Jeremie Frimpong and Xavi Simons Credit: Alamy

Erik ten Hag has been warned off signing a Dutch international in January who could replace a star unsuited to his system, though a summer Man Utd recruit would seem to prove the main point of contention wrong.

Two areas of Manchester United’s squad are expected to be addressed next month. Centre-forward and right-back are in the spotlight, with Cristiano Ronaldo’s premature exit forcing United to bring their plans up front forward by six months.

Cody Gakpo is fast becoming the club’s primary target. While naturally a winger, the red-hot Netherlands international is equally adept at leading the line – as he’s doing for Louis van Gaal in Qatar.

At right-back, TEAMtalk exclusively learned Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been told he can leave in January.

The £50m signing is a defence-first full-back and as such, is a poor fit for the new Man Utd boss.

We understand two Premier League clubs are already vying for his signature in the winter window – Crystal Palace and Fulham.

If Wan-Bissaka does depart, an upgrade is expected to be signed to compete with – and perhaps supersede – Diogo Dalot.

Two upgrades on Man Utd radar

On that front, Inter Milan’s Denzel Dumfries and Bayer Leverkusen’s Jeremie Frimpong have both been heavily linked.

Both are in Qatar at present, though it’s Dumfries who is getting the nod at right wing-back for the Netherlands. Regardless, Sky Germany reported last week United plan to hold talks over a Frimpong transfer after the World Cup.

The 21-year-old has an eye-catching five goals and one assist to his name in the Bundesliga this season. He’s also provided two assists in the Champions League, though does have a noticeable drawback.

Frimpong stands at just 5ft 6in tall. While height is by no means the most important trait in a defender, a lack of it is something that opposing teams can exploit.

Ten Hag clearly isn’t a manager who subscribes to that notion having signed 5ft 9in Lisandro Martinez to play at centre-half last summer.

The Argentine has made a mockery of those that claimed his lack of height would be ruthlessly exposed in the Premier League. Indeed, he wasted no time ousting the likes of Harry Maguire and has already formed a fine partnership with Raphael Varane.

However, speaking to Football Insider, pundit Frank McAvennie warned United off moving for the star who Leverkusen are expected to sell in 2023. Sky Germany claimed Frimpong replacements are already being scouted.

Jeremie Frimpong too small for the Prem?

“He is a good full-back,” said McAvennie. “He is tiny though. Coming up to the Premier League is a big difference, there are some big players now.

“Would Man United want him? He is great going forward but defensively, I do not know if Man United would be interested.

“I think he is doing very well. United have been under a lot of pressure, teams are not scared of them anymore.

“At Leverkusen they are on the front foot all the time, it was the same at at Celtic and he did well going forward all the time. Man United are not that kind of team anymore.

“Somebody of his size, defending, he has to go to teams that are on the front foot and attacking all the time. It is going to take Man United a while to get back to that.“

If United do push ahead with their plans to sign a new right-back, Frimpong can reportedly be signed for around £25m.

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