Man Utd’s transfer approach has Erik ten Hag scrambling to keep up with big six spending

Erik ten Hag is facing a major rebuild at Manchester United but the Red Devils have been slower out of the blocks in the transfer market than their Premier League rivals

Erik ten Hag is yet to welcome his first signing at Manchester United
Erik ten Hag is yet to welcome his first signing at Manchester United

The season is not defined by June – but it is safe to say the Erik ten Hag era at Manchester United has not got off to the best start.

The new Red Devils boss is facing a major rebuild task at Old Trafford following a miserable end to the season under interim boss Ralf Rangnick. United missed out on a top-four finish following an abysmal run of form to close the campaign, and finished 35 points adrift of rivals Manchester City at the summit.

The former Ajax manager becomes the latest man tasked with reviving the club in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era as United close in on a decade without a Premier League title. Reports suggest ten Hag has been handed a transfer budget in excess of £100 million, with Barcelona playmaker Frenkie de Jong said to be the top target.

There can be almost no argument that the Red Devils are the ‘Big Six’ club in most need of an overhaul following yet another dysfunctional season. The departure of a host of first-team stars such as Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic, and Paul Pogba has already freed up funds.

A number of underperforming fringe players have also been tipped with a summer exit, granting ten Hag significant room in which to rebuild the side. However, with less than a month until United’s first pre-season fixture against Liverpool in Bangkok, ten Hag is yet to welcome his first signing through the door.

Of course, there is no need to panic at this stage with the summer window not closing until September 1. But the sight of United’s ‘Big Six’ rivals strengthening ahead of the new campaign should undoubtedly be a concern.

Erik ten Hag is yet to make his first signing as Manchester United manager


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Manchester City are gunning for their fifth Premier League title in six seasons, and Pep Guardiola’s side have added to their already fearsome attacking options with the signings of Julian Alvarez and goal machine Erling Haaland. The defending champions took advantage of a release clause to land arguably football’s most coveted young striker, with many expecting the 21-year-old to compete for the Golden Boot in his debut campaign.

Liverpool have responded to Haaland’s arrival with a marquee striker of their own, with a potentially club-record deal agreed for Darwin Nunez. Sadio Mane is expected to depart this summer, and Jurgen Klopp wasted no time in lining up what looks to be an ideal replacement in the form of the Uruguay international.

United were linked with Nunez themselves, with reports indicating they were reluctant to enter a bidding war with their rivals. Time will tell if this was the right call, but ten Hag is now searching for an alternative with a move for Christopher Nkunku also looking too expensive at this stage.

Tottenham finished last season strongly to pip rivals Arsenal to a top-four spot, and have moved quickly to meet Antonio Conte’s demands for squad improvements. A cut-price deal for Yves Bissouma is set to be announced, with Fraser Forster and Ivan Perisic already confirmed.

Arsenal have responded to this setback with the latest reports indicating a deal is set to be agreed for promising Porto star Fabio Vieira. The fee has not been confirmed at this stage, although the player of the tournament at last year’s European Under-21 Championship is said to have a release clause of around £34million.

Vieira is expected to be the first senior arrival at the Emirates Stadium, with numerous reports indicating Gabriel Jesus could be next. The Brazil international is likely to leave City this summer following the arrival of Haaland, and the Gunners are in the market for at least one forward following the departures of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.

Fabio Vieira is set to join Arsenal, while United are yet to make any senior signings

Arsenal’s upcoming move for Vieira will leave United and Chelsea as the only two ‘Big Six’ sides yet to make a significant transfer breakthrough. Thomas Tuchel will likely have plenty of moves he is desperate to make, although the Blues have just come through the other side of a traumatic takeover saga.

United need to finally address a midfield conundrum which has plagued the club for several seasons now. Cristiano Ronaldo needs support in attack, while the Red Devils will also need to improve in defence in order to compete for silverware.

The to-do list for ten Hag is lengthy, and the repair job will take far longer than one summer. However, while their ‘Big Six’ rivals have made moves to strengthen, the Red Devils have once again been slow out of the blocks.

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