Manchester United are closing in on the hire of Dutch boss Erik ten Hag. ESPN Netherlands report United have decided on Ten Hag and will pay his release clause.
The move is a bold one from United, which makes so much sense. Ten Hag has reached his limit with Ajax, winning multiple league titles and performing strongly in the Champions League, and needs a new challenge.
United require an overhaul and Ten Hag is a man with a plan. According to reports he is already developing it.
Triple signing on the horison
Ten Hag has been linked with a double swoop on current club Ajax. At the Eredivisie champions he raided former side Utrecht for two players, and also later snapped up Sebastien Haller, another of his former stars.
Winger Antony is high on Ten Hag’s wishlist, The Telegraph report, with the Brazilian playing a key role for Ajax this season.
The Selecao international is known to Fred and Alex Telles already, and his trickery and technical quality would make him an exciting addition to link up with Jadon Sancho in attack.
The Mirror claim Ten Hag is keen to sign centre-back Jurrien Timber from Ajax. The 20-year-old is already a Dutch international and is expected to go to the World Cup.
Timber would add youth to United’s centre-back room and has already been talked up by Marco van Basten.
A report from The Sun claims Ten Hag wants to add Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves to lead United’s midfield.
The Portuguese star is vastly experienced and still only 25, and would be a very smart addition to United’s team if United can land him.
The Sun report Neves would cost £40 million. United would hope to land Timber and Antony for around £60 million combined, pushing the expenditure up to £100 million.
For that money United would get a key defensive player, a midfielder who can anchor the team and create, and an exciting attacking star. It would be money well spent, off set by key departures.
Room for one more addition too
These three signings would move United forward and there would be room for one extra addition too, up front. Edinson Cavani’s contract is set to expire in June and Anthony Martial also looks to have no future at the club.
Ten Hag will have to work out who he wants to lead the line for United, and how he wants to use the budget he has remaining after his planned triple swoop.
It’s possible Ten Hag may prioritise a striker above all else, focusing his budget here, and then looking to the other positions, and this could make it tricky to land all four.
With Ten Hag close to being agreed, United can get to work on delivering the players he wants. It would be crucial to tie up players in May and June, so they are ready to join the new manager on the pre-season tour in Thailand and Australia. There is no excuse for United to leave the bulk of the buying until the last minute.