Man Utd feel top four hit as state of affairs underlined by ‘free transfer demand’


Manchester United will miss out on the top four this term and Erik ten Hag’s arrival comes amid financial issues that have forced the club to seek free transfers in the summer

Manchester United have asked agents to seek out the best free transfers as they feel the financial pinch of missing out on the top four.

The Red Devils have endured a miserable season as they prepare to welcome Erik ten Hag, who is expected to lead a major squad overhaul. United have spent huge sums in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era, shelling out over £1bn on players.

However it’s got them no closer to their goal of winning another Premier League title and they will miss out on the top four this term, further hampering their ability to act in the transfer market. The financial implications of missing out on the Champions League coupled with the continued fallout of the pandemic means the club will be eyeing free agents, reports The Sun.

Dutch boss Ten Hag will be handed a summer budget of around £100m – which is nowhere near enough to address all the issues in Manchester. As a result other solutions will need to be found as United face up to their current reality.

The likes of Juventus forward Paulo Dybala, AC Milan’s Franck Kessie and Ousmane Dembele at Barcelona are among those who will be available for nothing this summer. United have previously been linked with Dembele and Dybala, although the latter is understood to be close to a deal to remain in Italy with Inter Milan.

The current Ajax boss will need to sort out which players he’s prepared to back going forward, with very few putting forward their cases in recent months such has been their form on the pitch. Several individuals will also leave Old Trafford.

Interim boss Ralf Rangnick, who is poised to remain in and around the club on a consultancy basis, said recently: “There will be a rebuild for sure. That was obvious in the first three or four weeks for me. There could be six, seven, eight, maybe ten new players.”

Cristiano Ronaldo’s future remains a hot topic with the 37-year-old continuing to divide opinion. His goals have been a major plus for United but, at his age, and given his style of play, many fear Ten Hag may not want to build his team around the veteran forward, who returned in the summer for a second stint at the club.

Much of United’s poor transfer activity over the past decade has been signed off by Ed Woodward. The club’s former chief has now passed on the baton to chief executive Richard Arnold, who is making major changes behind the scenes. Scouting heads Jim Lawlor and Marcel Bout, along with chief negotiator Matt Judge, have all left Old Trafford.