Erik Ten Hag's top transfer targets for a Manchester United rebuild
Written by: Andrew Felton
After a very disappointing season for Manchester United and their fans, a new era starts with the appointment of manager Erik Ten Hag, who has joined the Red Devils from Dutch side Ajax. For many, a fresh start for this club who has seen so much success in the past, after a disappointing 'transitional period' since the retirement of managerial legend Sir Alex Ferguson.
After finishing sixth in the Premier League and only managing to gain qualification into the Europa League, can Manchester United sign the players needed to challenge the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City, even without Champions League football?
There is no doubt that without David De Gea this season Manchester United might not have managed a top six finish and could have easily found themselves mid table. After receiving a lot of criticism over the last few seasons and with links away from Old Trafford, De Gea really showed why he is still one of the best keepers in the world and should stay in Ten Hag's plans. With Dean Henderson still at the club, United still have a great option for a backup/cup competition keeper and will not have to invest in this position.
Manchester United's defense got a lot of criticism this season for their performances, especially captain Harry Maguire. This therefore, leaves questions and rumours on the future of firstly, the captain himself who has been linked to Barcelona (although a move away is very unlikely), Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof are doubtful to stay in Manchester and the club are looking at replacements for Aaron Wan Bissaka. This only leaves Luke Shaw, Alex Telles and Raphael Varane as the only 'safe' players.
Jurrien Timber - 2/1(Ajax) - A 20 year old future talent who is set to once again work with with Erik Ten Hag is centre back Jurrien Timber. A product of the Ajax youth academy, Timber is hailed as a 'true leader' with the possibility of being a future 'world class centre back'. With Ajax only demanding £36 million, in today's market United would be daft not take a chance on this talented youngster.
Pau Torres - 3/1 (Villarreal) - A target for Manchester United is Villarreal centre back Pau Torres. This defender is a prime target for Ten Hag and will look to cost around the £43 million mark. This price tag seems very fair for a player who has Champions League experience and is only 26 years of age.
Tariq Lamptey - 8/1 (Brighton) - Looking to replace Wan Bissaka or adding a little more competition for places, Manchester United have show interest in Brightons right back Tariq Lamptey. With United offering £30 million but, Brighton wanting more the £40 million plus mark, added interest from other clubs such as; Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham, who are willing to offer upto for £50 million for some Premier League experience, will make this a difficult signing.
Joules Kounde - 12/1 (Sevilla) - Another centre back target for Manchester United is Sevilla's Joules Kounde. With this transfer looking unlikely, due to rivals Chelsea being the heavy favourites to sign the defender, United will have to push a spectacular deal through to lure him to Old trafford, possibly with Martial as a bargaining tool.
Manchester United's midfield has been under scrutiny from the start of the season with players underperforming and putting in lackluster performances, already seeing many depart in this short offseason. Players such as Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic and Jesse Lingard have already announced they are leaving the club, with plenty of positions needing to be filled.
It does look like the returning Donny Van De Beek could get playing time and have a crucial role, playing under his old boss from Ajax. It is however, very unlikely that United will sign any of the three midfielders they have been linked to around Jude Bellingham, Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips, so other targets will have to be made a priority.
Frenkie De Jong - 4/7 (Barcelona) - With the financial issues Barcelona have been facing, Frenkie De Jong is looking more and more likely to join Manchester United this summer and will no doubt help bolster their midfield. He is recognised as one of the most all rounded midfielders in the world, able to play deep and be a box-to-box midfielder, which should benefit United's new style of play. With a price tag of around £50 million, again this could be a great deal to start Manchester United's rebuild.
Ruben Neves - 9/4 (Wolves) - A player with plenty of Premier League experience, maybe thinking about a move to a higher challenge and a chance to play in Europe, is Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves. With Manchester United's overhaul of midfield players, Neves maybe a player which Manchester United really try to push a deal for. However, with a rumoured price tag of £70 Million, are there cheaper alternatives to be considered?
Ibrahim Sangare 2/1 - (PSV Eindhoven) - A player with his sights set on a move to the Premier League and a player which Erik Ten Hag knows well from the Eredivisie, is midfielder Ibrahim Sangare. A player with a price tag of £30 million, another low price tag for a potentially very good investment.
The only saving grace for Manchester United this season was the re-signing of Cristiano Ronaldo from Juventus. Ronaldo's goals have been absolutely crucial in games this season, winning valuable points and carrying the team during the Champions League. With Sancho having a rough start in the Premier League during his first season, Rashford struggling to find form, Martial cast out on loan, Greenwood's future still in doubt and Cavani on his way out, who could come in to help Ronaldo get Manchester United back on top.
Antony Matheus dos Santos - 2/1 (Ajax) - Another Ajax player who maybe lured to Manchester United by Ten Hag is Brazilian forward Antony. With the player helping Ajax to win back-to-back titles, he could be the player Manchester United need to add depth to a squad which looks depleted. This could help encourage Rashford to find form and back up Sancho when needed. It is believed that a fee of around £50 million is to be agreed, with United desperately looking for some attacking flair.
Darwin Nunez - 3/1 (Benfica) - With Ronaldo reaching 37 years of age, new blood needs to be found and brought to Manchester, taking the club forward. A name which is cropping up a lot is that of Darwin Nunez, who is currently at Benfica and linked heavily to United rivals Liverpool, who are current favourites to sign the 22 year old. However, the price tag which Darwin Nunez comes with, is that of £85 million and with no Champions League football for the Reds, is Nunez an unreal expectation?