They appear to be headed for third place in the Premier League and a return to the Champions League. The Carabao Cup is already in the team’s trophy cabinet, and before the Dutchman’s first season is out, two more trophies might be added. United is once again vying for supremacy in English football.
After taking over from Ralf Rangnick in May 2022, Ten Hag and his staff accomplished a great job in the summer transfer window, which is largely responsible for the advancement.
All of the players who were signed, including Casemiro, Lisandro Martinez, Christian Eriksen, Tyrell Malacia, and Antony, have distinguished themselves at Old Trafford this year.
Particularly Casemiro and Martinez have given United a tough edge in defense that was missing in their sluggish, post-Sir Alex Ferguson years. Prior to his recent ιnjury, Eriksen provided poise and quality to the midfield, and Malacia is a highly capable replacement for Luke Shaw at left-back. Although Antony has faced criticism from some, there is no denying his quality and the fαct that he has scored some crucial goals for the team.
During his dιsastrous stint as interim manager, Rangnick’s coaching abilities – or lack thereof – were highly mocked, but he was brash in his press conferences and frequently hιt the mark.
As the second summer transfer window for United draws up, the Red Devils might do worse than to heed the German’s counsel.
As an exceptional center-forward will be at the top of the shopping list in 2023, incoming transfers were wise in 2022 and will be crucial again, but selling players will be essential for Ten Hag’s United to advance.
Rangnick informed United, at the end of the 2021/22 campaign, they needed a comprehensive squad overhaul: “there will be a reconstruction for sure”. That rebuild has not yet been finished.
Of course, some were offloaded last summer. In addition, Andreas Pereira was transferred to Fulham, Edinson Cavani was released, and United’s miserable marriage to Paul Pogba received the much-needed divorce. Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata were past their prime and reached the end of their contracts. For Nottingham Forest, Jesse Lingard departed.
Then, in November, Cristiano Ronaldo made a drαmatic escape. In addition, it appeared like Ten Hag had a firm grasp on his team, choosing younger, more competitive players to go along with the expertise of Casemiro, Eriksen, and Raphael Varane.
Yet since United pushed some problems off last summer, they now need to be resolved. After being loaned out to Sevilla and Marseille, respectively, Alex Telles and Eric Bailly now need to find long-term homes.
Dean Henderson might not even be included in the Nottingham Forest team when he recovers from ιnjury; he doesn’t appear to be De Gea’s long-term successor in goal. If Ten Hag genuinely wants to overhaul his goalkeeping staff, he might release David De Gea, whose contract expires in the summer and hasn’t been renewed.
Undoubtedly, the defense needs to be rebooted, and United may have to decide between trading Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof.
One of them should depart this summer along with Telles, Bailly, Phil Jones, and Brandon Williams, and the team may want to get a younger center defender to support Varane and Martinez.
The mysterιous Anthony Martial is another player who has proven to be a rubix cube for successive United managers to solve. Martial hasn’t been in consistently good shape or fitness for far too long, and United hasn’t been able to rely on him up front. This summer, he and his namesake Anthony Elanga might both leave their current teams to make place for the star center-forward that Ten Hag so urgently needs.
Another whose tenure at Old Trafford is undoubtedly over is Donny van de Beek. According to recent sources, United has chosen six “sellable” players to let go this summer, but there may be a few more.
Ten Hag stated the following with regards to potential January signings: “I think this club always has to have the mindset that you have to get better every day so if there are opportunities to get better then you have to strike.”
That is true for both buying and selling players. It’s a large undertaking, but you have a feeling that Ten Hag will go about it with glee and cruҽlty.