After being officially unveiled as Manchester United’s new manager last week, Erik ten Hag is now busy putting plans in place for the upcoming summer transfer window.
The window opens on June 10 and is set to signal the busiest start to the summer United have had in recent years. The club are about to say goodbye to a handful of big-name stars, such as Paul Pogba and Edinson Cavani, which means new signings will be brought in to fill those gaps and add fresh blood to the Ten Hag revolution.
Therefore, with the window opening now less than a fortnight away, speculation is already starting to pick up significantly on who United could add to their ranks this summer. Several positions need to be reinforced which means United’s club photographer could be snapping pictures of several new additions to Carrington over the next few weeks.
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Among those linked with moves to Old Trafford are Ajax defender Jurrien Timber, Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres, Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong and Benfica star Darwin Nunez. These four players would greatly improve the areas of the team that need strengthening, especially De Jong in midfield.
That being said, MEN Sports took a close look at how Ten Hag could set up United next season if he was able to lure the four aforementioned names to Old Trafford. The Dutchman is renowned for playing with a recognizable 4-3-3 system and he could well continue this trend in England.
Goalkeeper – David de Gea
Although it remains to be seen what Ten Hag’s plans are for the goalkeeping department, David De Gea, after an excellent 2021/22 campaign between the sticks, deserves a chance to keep his place. He has produced countless good performances this season, with his only saves securing the Reds valuable points.
Dean Henderson looks set to leave the club and join Newcastle United meaning there’s a chance De Gea will remain at No.1 next season. While nothing can be ruled out, it’s hard to see him demoted to No. 2, with a new first-choice stopper coming over his head.
The Spaniard, who will need to improve areas of his game, including his distribution, deserves to keep his place and be part of the Ten Hag revolution. It would be hard for him to be fired.
Defense – Jurrien Timber, Pau Torres, Raphael Varane, Luke Shaw
United need fresh blood at the back this summer, especially at right-back and centre-back. At present Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot are the club’s two senior right-back options and it is understood the former is not in Ten Hag’s plans meaning the club will have to replace him .
Ajax ace Timber has been touted as a solution to the Reds’ right-back problems, with the youngster having shone under Ten Hag in the Netherlands this season. Although he has operated more often as a central defender, he is also capable of playing on the right side of defence, with his pace and athleticism, as well as his ability to carry the ball, some of his best qualities, this which means he has the potential to make him a seasoned full-back.
Therefore, if United were to sign Timber and deploy him primarily as a right-back, it could pave the way for Torres to come from Villarreal at centre-back. United want to add a centre-back to their ranks this summer and the Spaniard is a player the club have been watching for a long time.
It is understood Ten Hag has been consulted over the prospect of him being brought to Old Trafford, meaning United are serious about their interest in him. He would be a suitable partner for Raphael Varane at the heart of defence, but that would mean the ax for current club captain Harry Maguire. Luke Shaw, meanwhile, is expected to continue at left-back.
Midfielder – Fred, Frenkie de Jong, Bruno Fernandes
If one area of the squad is to take priority over any other this summer, it has to be midfield. United supporters are desperate to see changes made to this area of the team and with good reason.
They are crying out for a defensive-minded midfielder, but it remains to be seen who they will attract to Old Trafford to address this particular issue. They also need a box-to-box midfielder who can dominate proceedings with the ball at his feet.
In De Jong, they found one. Ten Hag worked with the Dutch international at Ajax and is keen to reunite with him, but Barcelona’s financial demands will decide if an Under-16 reunion is possible.
But if he were to be added to the squad it would be a huge statement of intent from United. Although a mystery surrounds the defensive midfielder’s spot, he would join Fred and Bruno Fernandes in a three-way system for now.
Attack – Jadon Sancho, Cristiano Ronaldo, Darwin Nunez
With Cavani leaving the club when his contract expires at the end of next month, United will need to invest in a replacement striker to provide support and competition for Cristiano Ronaldo. Benfica ace Nunez has already been highlighted by the many fans as a player they would love to see brought to the club, but he, like De Jong, will cost a pretty penny.
He’s had a great campaign for Benfica this term, scoring 34 goals in 41 appearances, which means his stock is up. Reports claim the Portuguese giants value him at over £60m, meaning United will have to think carefully if they consider continuing with Ronaldo as their first-choice striker.
However, according to transfermarkt, Nunez has played five times as a left-winger this season, scoring ten goals in the process from that position, suggesting he can be deployed on a large scale if needed. But with Ronaldo turning 38 in less than a year, you’d think Nunez’s chance to move up the middle would come soon. He might have to be patient, but at just 22, now might be the best time to sign him as his stock is only going up.
United composition: De Gea; Wood, Torres, Varane, Shaw; Fred, DeJong, Fernandes; Sancho, Ronaldo, Nunez.
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