Ten Hag sets Murtough to work on ‘next phase’ of Man Utd rebuild, with new triple threat eyed

·3-min read
Erik ten Hag, September 2022 Credit: PA Images
Erik ten Hag, September 2022 Credit: PA Images

Erik ten Hag has made a new right-back, midfielder and forward his three top transfer priorities for Manchester United, reports claim.

The Red Devils needed an impressive summer transfer window following last season’s dismal showing. And there was hope that Ten Hag, who became the new manager in May, could deliver the goods.

Amid a long, drawn-out and ultimately unsuccessful chase for Frenkie de Jong, there were concerns that Man Utd would not progress after all.

In the end, United paid £84million for Ajax star Antony and £70million for Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro. What’s more, Lisandro Martinez and Tyrell Malacia are settling in nicely.

But, reports late in the summer transfer window talked of Old Trafford interest in a new right-back and striker. Sergino Dest and Victor Osimhen were reportedly Ten Hag’s top targets for the respective positions.

And according to the Manchester Evening News, Man Utd will reignite interest in bolstering those two positions as part of the ‘next phase’ of their planned recruitment strategy.

Ten Hag, who will liaise closely with football director John Murtough over transfers, also wants a new midfielder.

Finally, United are keeping tabs on a potential new ‘long-term’ goalkeeper signing. The Red Devils signed Martin Dubravka this summer following back-up stopper Dean Henderson’s departure.

Henderson left for a Nottingham Forest loan because of a lack of minutes behind David de Gea, whose Old Trafford future is uncertain.

Ten Hag planning Man Utd meetings

Ten Hag confirmed after Thursday’s 2-0 Europa League win over Sheriff Tiraspol that Man Utd are planning to use the break they have ahead of them to conduct “meetings”.

“We have many meetings, we have to improve the structures in and around the club. We will do,” the Dutchman said.

“And we will also look to the window in January or next summer already and also to improve our way of playing by making plans.”

United do not play again until after the international break. The Premier League shut down last weekend as a mark of respect for the late Queen’s death.

What’s more, policing concerns ahead of Her Majesty’s funeral on Monday have forced Man Utd v Leeds United on Sunday to be moved – to when yet is unclear.

Assessing current Man Utd options

As for United’s current options in the three areas Ten Hag wants to strengthen next, the players in question are proving a mixed bag.

At right-back, Diogo Dalot has earned Ten Hag’s trust ahead of Aaron Wan-Bissaka. The 24-year-old has in fact played just four minutes of football this season.

And Ten Hag had to rubbish rumours of his role in a summer swap deal for Dest.

In midfield, Casemiro and Christian Eriksen have arrived to compete with Bruno Fernandes, Fred, Scott McTominay and Donny van de Beek.

Van de Beek looks the most at-risk player as it stands. The Dutchman has so far not enjoyed the role he played under Ten Hag at Ajax.

Meanwhile, McTominay is battling well with Casemiro for minutes, but that may not last if the latter’s Real Madrid record is anything to go by.

Up top, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford are getting back into form. Although, they have not done enough to make the upcoming England camp.

Cristiano Ronaldo was the standout Man Utd man last season with 24 goals in 38 games. But, United are looking for a long-term replacement for the 37-year-old.

Anthony Elanga is only playing a bit-part role, but he is more towards the start of his Old Trafford journey. Indeed, he only broke through last season.

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