Erik ten Hag urged to sign ‘next Ruud van Nistelrooy’ when he joins Man Utd – EXCLUSIVE


ERIK TEN HAG will have to tackle a glaring transfer issue if he follows up on his alleged agreement to become Manchester United boss.

Manchester United’s incoming new manager Erik ten Hag has been urged to replicate one of the club’s greatest signings by recruiting the next Ruud van Nistelrooy this summer. The Red Devils are expected to pursue a striker regardless of whether a mass attacking exodus unfolds, and their former star Paul Parker has given the Dutchman some pointers on how to make the most out of the next transfer window.

After a long-running managerial saga which saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sacked, Ralf Rangnick appointed on an interim basis while Mauricio Pochettino and Ten Hag were being courted, the latter looks set to take the reins from next season onwards. Indeed, the Dutchman has reportedly reached a verbal agreement with United which would call time on his five-year stint at Ajax.

Ten Hag is already believed to be assembling a crack team of backroom staff, and all of them could be tasked with sounding out the perfect striker to propel United to the next level. Rangnick claims it is ‘obvious’ that the club will pursue such a player this summer when Edinson Cavani is expected to leave for free, while Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcus Rashford could both follow him out of Old Trafford.

Parker, who won six domestic cups with the Red Devils, has urged his former side to go after the next Van Nistelrooy in light of the striker’s dominant five-year spell under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Speaking exclusively to Express Sport courtesy of BeMyBet, he explained: “I think United are going to have to do their homework and they’re going to have to find someone who’s got enough drive in them, who wants to score goals, who wants to play for Manchester United, who wants to make his name and become a great for Manchester United.

“A bit like a Ruud van Nistelrooy. Ruud van Nistelrooy was known as a goalscorer but he made his name, he established himself when he came to a big club like Manchester United at the time and he made it. Manchester United put him up there in the limelight.

“Andy Cole had a big name for what he was doing at Newcastle but he got even bigger when he arrived. They need someone with an appetite. Not someone who’s had it, who can just look back and put his arms out and go – ‘well, I’m not getting any help’.”

“Someone who wants to prove a point and make a name for himself. Someone who’s on the thresholds of international football but maybe needs a big move and the opportunity to go and say – ‘I’m going to go and cement a regular place in my national team.’ That’s the kind of player.”

“I don’t want to hear [Robert] Lewandowski, Harry Kane and all that. United don’t need that. They don’t need another 30-plus centre-forward at this moment in time. They just need a workaholic, back to basics as such.”

Parker’s wishes would take the likes of Erling Haaland out of the equation given that he is already a desired name at the top of the sport, who would set United back a hefty overall sum if they attempted to hijack Manchester City and Real Madrid with a move. Lewandowski could also be available amid suggestions that he would be keen on a new challenge away from Bayern Munich, but Ten Hag may favour a longer-term solution.

The lesser-known names linked to Old Trafford in recent transfer windows include Lyon frontman Moussa Dembele and Real Sociedad’s Alexander Isak. It remains to be seen whether Ten Hag will come in with transfer wishes of his own, which could land the Red Devils with a new version of his goal-hungry compatriot Van Nistelrooy.