Two Man Utd deals spark ‘resentment’ as Ten Hag burns bridges, while third signing could come at Chelsea’s expense

Erik ten Hag, Manchester United manager, during pre-season training at Rajamangala National Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand Credit: Alamy
Erik ten Hag, Manchester United manager, during pre-season training at Rajamangala National Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand Credit: Alamy

An important figure at Ajax is “full of resentment” at how Erik ten Hag gutted the club, though the Man Utd manager may yet prise another major star away in January, per reports.

Manchester United’s summer window appeared to be meandering without direction for the longest time. Their insistence on signing Frenkie de Jong put many other deals on hold.

Only when the De Jong deal fell away did United spring into action. Casemiro was quickly snapped up from Real Madrid and the Brazilian destroyer already looks a cut above most holding midfielders in the league.

With Casemiro joining Christian Eriksen and the midfield sorted, attention then turned to the frontline.

Man Utd finally strong-armed Ajax into selling Antony upon making an offer they simply couldn’t refuse.

Antony was valued around £50m earlier in the window. Upon tabling an £86m bid, the finances were too good for Ajax to ignore who reluctantly made a business decision.

Antony – along with fellow ex-Ajax star Lisandro Martinez – have both started brightly at Old Trafford. Martinez in particular has shone and has made a mockery of early criticism of his height.

But while United are reaping the rewards, Ajax are struggling to deal with the repercussions of losing so many top class players.

Aside from Antony and Martinez, the Amsterdam club also saw regular starters Andre Onana, Noussair Mazraoui, Nicolás Tagliafico, Ryan Gravenberch and Sébastien Haller leave the club.

Ajax do currently top the Eredivisie table, though aren’t running away from a Cody Gakpo-inspired PSV Eindhoven. What’s more, the gap between Ajax and Feyenoord in fifth is a mere four points.

Their fortunes in the Champions League have suffered greatly, with Ajax already mathematically incapable of qualifying for the knockout rounds.

A group containing Napoli and Liverpool always looked tough, but the manner of their defeats has come as a surprise. They lost to both Napoli and Liverpool at home by punishing 6-1 and 3-0 scorelines respectively.

Now, Dutch journalist, Henk Spaan, has claimed Ten Hag’s summer recruitment drive has left the new Ajax manager “full of resentment”.

Ten Hag burns bridges in Amsterdam

Alfred Schreuder succeeded Ten Hag and is said to be particularly distraught at the losses of Antony and Martinez. Those two were arguably Ajax’s top two stars and the leading lights in attack and defence respectively.

“Schreuder is still full of resentment over the sale of Antony and Martinez,” Spaan wrote (via MSN).

“Of course Ajax suffers from the lack of a number of basic players, but Ajax suffers most from the lack of Erik ten Hag.”

The departure of Ten Hag is clearly a sore spot in Amsterdam too. Aside from being an elite-level tactician, he also played a huge part in polishing up the club’s diamonds in the rough, such as Antony and Martinez.

Ajax will always be a club dictated by the financial constraints of playing in the comparatively weaker Dutch league. What’s more, the ill-will they have towards Ten Hag and Man Utd may be exacerbated come January.

Man Utd could triple Ajax woes

Edson Alvarez was another Ajax name heavily linked with a summer exit. However, after losing so many starters, Ajax were emboldened to stand firm once and for all on Alvarez when Chelsea bid £43m in the window’s final stages.

Dutch outlet De Telegraaf later claimed they’ll reluctantly agree to a January switch.

Mexico international Alvarez later revealed his disappointment at the summer move falling through, though clearly has his sights fixed on a move to a bigger club sooner rather than later.

Journalist Simon Phillips reported Alvarez is on a four-man midfield shortlist of Chelsea targets for January. The Evening Standard claimed Alvarez is Chelsea’s preferred target of the lot.

However, more recent reports have claimed Man Utd could hijack the move and the presence of Ten Hag, Antony and Martinez at Old Trafford could steer Alvarez their way.

Alvarez operates primarily in a defensive midfield position. He’d therefore represent an upgrade on Fred and Scott McTominay and an area long castigated as a position of weakness at Man Utd would now become a strength.

READ MORE: Ten Hag told it’s a ‘crime’ if Man Utd star doesn’t shine, as Neville claims damaging Ronaldo dynamic is broken

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