Erik ten Hag Must be Given Time if he is to Succeed at Old Trafford

ten Hag

Liam Bewsher

Erik ten Hag Must be Given Time if he is to Succeed at Old Trafford

Ajax manager Erik ten Hag looks likely to join Manchester United come the end of the current campaign once Ralf Rangnick transitions from his role as an Interim Manager into a Consultant at Old Trafford.

At the end of this season, it will be nine years since United last lifted their 20th league title under Sir Alex Ferguson. Since then, the club has been treading through water, desperately trying to compete to no avail, with last season’s second-place finish under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer being their closest attempt, ending up a mere 12 points off Manchester City.

Next Manchester United Manager Odds

skybet betting tip

ERIK TEN HAG TO BE MANCHESTER UNITED MANAGER FOR 2022/23 @ 1/4

United Need to Change Their Transfer Philosophy

In recent seasons, United have been slow and incredibly unsavvy when it comes to rebuilding their squad, often briefing and opting for a maximum of four signings in the summer transfer window - this must change.

If they are to become a force in a relatively quick period of time, then they must avoid spending £100m+ on a marquee signing that fits the brand rather than the team and instead opt to round the squad to form some balance.

The Old Trafford club missed a huge chance for a quick fix to their midfield in January when they opted not to go for Denis Zakaria, who ended up at Juventus for £7m, despite not having a defensive midfielder primed and capable of offering balance to their side - this mistake alone could cost them a place in next season’s Champions League.

Rumours are once again circulating that United are in the market for Declan Rice with the touted fee West Ham are demanding said to be £150m. This is an example of why United shouldn’t go for players in the British market with inflated prices, Boubacar Kamara is set to leave Marseille for free this summer, whilst RB Leipzig midfielder Konrad Laimer’s deal expires next summer.

There is no doubting Rice’s ability, he is a brilliant player, but, with Youri Tielemans set to be available for around £30m, Kamara’s contract expiring and other defensive midfield options such as Aurélien Tchouaméni looking likely to leave their club sides’, United could fix their midfield for a figure far less than what West Ham are demanding, whilst bringing in depth.

Due to Edinson Cavani and Cristiano Ronaldo being in the twilight of their careers, United will have to dip in the market for a new striker, especially considering Anthony Martial has failed to impress during his loan spell with Sevilla.

United are set to lose experienced professionals such as Juan Mata, Cavani, Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard for free, effectively slashing their wage budget by around £800,000 per week. They simply have to avoid overpaying on wages once again as they did throughout the Ed Woodward era or face the same consequences.

The Red Devils need a cultural reset, with wages being an issue, as well as the overall attitude of some individuals, with leaks persistently coming out of the club about unrest amongst the playing staff, these individuals will have to be sold in an attempt to create squad harmony.

The truth is, United’s squad could take a few years to fix. Rangnick recently stated that Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have been building their squads for around six years, United have gone through four permanent and two interim managers in nine, and still have players on the books from Sir Alex Ferguson’s days in charge.

Manchester United Transfer Odds

skybet betting tip

DECLAN RICE TO MOVE TO MANCHESTER UNITED IN THE SUMMER TRANSFER WINDOW (2022) @ 3/1

Ten Hag has Experience of Forming a Winning Culture

When ten Hag joined Ajax back in December 2017 from Utrecht, they hadn’t won the Dutch Eredivisie since the 2013/14 season.

Within one and a half seasons, Ajax were the champions of the Netherlands and Champions League semi-finalists. This was by good recruitment, as well as good tactics and management by the Dutchman to form a winning mentality.

The 52-year-old’s first signing at Ajax was Nicolas Tagliafico in January 2018 from Independiente for £3.6m. He also promoted Moroccan right-back Noussair Mazraoui to the first team later that season as he wanted two attack-minded full-backs who are sound in possession.

In his first summer as manager, Ajax added quality experience in Dusan Tadic and Daley Blind, two excellent players in general and for the Eredivisie. Former Southampton man Tadic managed to score 38 goals in his first full campaign in Amsterdam.

Ajax switched between a 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 in 2017/18 and further developed youngsters such as Donny van de Beek, ironically now at Manchester United, as well as Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong, Hakim Ziyech and more, creating a high-intensity style of football that European giants such as Juventus and Real Madrid could simply not live with in the Champions League.

Naturally, it will be more difficult in the Premier League to form such a talented group of players in a short space of time, as ten Hag inherited a lot of these talents, but, what United need is a recognised system and a DNA, something that they have lacked since Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.

Something that has also impressed about ten Hag, is his ability to replace key players, as Ajax recruited the likes of Lisandro Martinez, Edson Alvarez and Antony, before promoting Ryan Gravenberch, Sergino Dest and Jurrien Timber to the first team. Last season, Ajax stormed the league with 88 points, winning 28 of 34 games, scoring 102 and conceding just 23 times.

Premier League Odds

skybet betting tip

MANCHESTER UNITED TO FINISH IN THE TOP 4 OF THE PREMIER LEAGUE 2021/22 @ 15/2

United Must Utilise Their Academy Like Ajax did

Regardless of where they finish this campaign, United must sign players for both now and the future, as mentioned above, the likes of Tielemans and Kamara would be ideal, but, there are plenty more areas of concern, hence why ten Hag has been linked with moves for Ajax duo Antony and Timber, as they lack proven quality in the forward areas, whilst having an injury-prone defence.

Typically, United also have a high-quality academy, they must decide on which goalkeeper to use out of Dean Henderson and David De Gea, as the Spaniard is on a whopping £375,000 per week contract that expires in 2023 and has come in for a lot of criticism for poor distribution and his reluctance to leave his goal line.

Meanwhile, if United do end up in the Europa League or Europa Conference League, these games should be used as opportunities to let bright talents such as James Garner, Ethan Laird and Hannibal Mejbri get first-team minutes under their belts providing that they are all at Old Trafford next season.

Ultimately, giving opportunities to youngsters can create a hungriness in the squad in terms of competition, as well as also potentially saving money in future seasons on big-money transfers, possibly speeding up the rebuilding process of the record-holding 20 times champions of England.

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