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Erik ten Hag can offer Frenkie de Jong what Manchester United couldn’t give Erling Haaland

Erik ten Hag can offer Frenkie de Jong what Manchester United couldn’t give Erling Haaland

Manchester United may have a clear concept of which players they want to sign in the summer transfer window. But whether they’ll be able to bring in those guys is another story.

With transfer windows opening across Europe on Friday, there has already been a flurry of activity across the continent, and some United supporters are showing symptoms of impatience as they await word of an arrival at Old Trafford.

United intended to have their new manager in place before the end of the season so that they could quickly finalise a list of transfer targets, but that was only the beginning of the task.

Andy O’Boyle was appointed as the club’s first deputy football director to allow John Murtough to concentrate on recruitment, and regular discussions have been conducted with Erik ten Hag and his backroom staff to develop a strategy.

Now comes the difficult part: enticing those targets to relocate to Old Trafford.

Alf-Inge Haaland claimed two years ago that one of the main reasons his son Erling did not sign with United was the uncertainty surrounding Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s future at the club.

“You have to go to a club where the whole club wants you, not just the coach,” his father,” he said. “I think that’s the most important thing, in addition to how the club has been over the last five or ten years and what direction they’ve taken. Because it’s dangerous to just sign for a coach, because he can suddenly be sacked.”

Ten Hag’s first challenge will be to sell his vision for the club and reassure supporters that, while they hope a new recruit will contribute to success next season, they will still have a United future if things don’t go as planned.

This is one of the sticking blocks in Frenkie de Jong’s summer move, with the Dutchman not very keen on leaving the Nou Camp for Old Trafford at the moment.

Another challenge the incoming United boss will face is making up for the absence of Champions League action available.

United has actually spent more money in the summers when they are preparing for a Europa League campaign. See the six-year contract to sign Paul Pogba.

Missing out on the Champions League isn’t a total disaster for the summer recruitment strategy, though certain players may demand it, but any new acquisition must be confident of qualifying for it next year at the very least before signing a contract.

The World Cup, on the other hand, may be the most crucial aspect this year.

With the World Cup taking place in the winter, players will only have a few months of the new season to hit the ground running and solidify their places in their various national teams in Qatar.

It means that players on the outskirts may be wary of joining United, especially if they play in a position where Ten Hag already has lots of choices.

Midfielders should be unaffected by this, given United’s obvious need for at least one starter this summer, but in defence, there is so much competition that a new recruit may be concerned that they will have to wait for their moment.

Jurrien Timber is thought to be wary of a move since he would have no guarantee of regular playing time, and international manager Louis van Gaal has already urged him against making a decision this week.

Pau Torres, another target at center-back, wants to start every match for Spain at the World Cup and will only move this summer if he is certain of a regular role.

Ten Hag may already know who he wants to sign this summer, but he must now persuade them.


Erik ten Hag can offer Frenkie de Jong what Manchester United couldn’t give Erling Haaland

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