The transfer window officially opened today and Manchester United must strengthen in several key areas after a disastrous season if new boss Erik ten Hag is to cheer up at Old Trafford.
With the zero goal difference Premier League season over, it’s clear that all areas of the team need improvement.
While Ten Hag owning expert and defensive specialist Mitchell van der Gaag will try to revive as much of the current squad as possible, the next 63 days will be crucial in adding much-needed quality.
57 goals conceded from the rear, which was a grim sight, with concentration errors, one-on-one vulnerability and poor reverse gears leading to an unwanted Manchester United Premier League record.
As a result, Manchester United have been linked to Ajax’s Jurrien Timber and The Guardian reports that the club has been “in touch” on a potential £ 43m move this summer. His speed and agility offer something different to every mid-half at Old Trafford, while his rear dribbling ability can help to resolve the lethargic nature of the team’s play. After having played more league minutes than any United defender last season, his availability would be an added boost to a team that seems to suffer a defensive injury every year.
Weak defensive performances are not always dealt with by defenders, however, and it seems Manchester United have finally realized what so many have known for so long: they need a defensive midfielder.
Frenkie de Jong, although not a completely defensive player, described him as one of the “two sixes” of Ten Hag in Ajax. His skill and composure on the ball are in stark contrast to the options available at Old Trafford, where Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba are leaving the free transfers. Although classy, the Dutch maestro cannot be accused of being “showpiece”. He passes and dribbles so effectively that every twitch of the ankle feels like a deliberate trick designed to increase space – as seen in the box-to-box run in stoppage time which led Wales to finally lose their 20 game running without failing at home. Wednesday.
Marca reports that a deal worth up to £ 68m has been placed and Barcelona is said to be close to acceptance.
In the forward positions Manchester United seemed crowded ten months ago, but a reminder of how quickly things can change in football made Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho the only older options on the team. While there is hope that Anthony Elanga will be able to continue his growth, disappointing loan periods for both Facundo Pellistri and Amada mean they are unlikely to be relied upon in the coming season.
If Erik ten Hag had continued in the spirit of the downhill, Ajax winger Antony might have been the target. Reports that his entourage is in Europe seeking an agreement on personal terms surfaced yesterday, with a £ 51m transfer discussion.
The Brazilian is a real footballer Jogo Bonito, a entertainer with a level of cleverness similar to Luis Nani. Under three separate managers, Manchester United had the left side in their offensive play which other teams often found easy to defend. Adding a left-footed striker who likes to stretch teams on the right can be the key to unlocking a tight defense, which is common when the underdogs visit Old Trafford.
While new managers rarely sign contracts with so many former players, Erika ten Haga’s word to De Telegraph (by the Ministry of National Education) can be an incentive:
“I think all the best clubs in Europe are targeting Timber, but I think a lot of Ajax players are now affected by that.”
And with so many unknowns in the Manchester United squad, maybe the new boss could use an old friend?