Erik ten Hag has a £98m decision to make on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s transfers at Manchester United – Liam Wood


Even in this digitally-charged modern world Erik ten Hag will have been inundated with paperwork upon his first visit to the Carrington training ground and the Manchester United manager will be hoping to be handed one further important document in the coming days.

After being made to wait and wait for his introduction, Ten Hag was posed with a similar delay when it comes to transfer business, yet there is finally set to be a green light in that respect. Frenkie de Jong will sign for United and Ten Hag will gladly take time to savor that confirmation when it comes through.

A dismal season means Ten Hag is starting from ground zero. In this situation, that emphasizes what United supporters can look forward to under the Dutchman and – against all odds – he has managed to persuade his former Ajax talisman to sign.

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Okay, so Barcelona might have had something to do with that given their insistence on cashing-in, but this signing represents a coup for United in their current guise. It was a buy they desperately needed in response to high-profile business being struck up elsewhere – not least from across the city at the Etihad Stadium.

Other recruits are needed every bit as much as De Jong and Ten Hag will come to understand that after dusting off his boots and tactics board for a first training session on Monday. It marks a fresh chance for established players and ‘flops’ to impress and force their way into contention.

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It has to be said, though, on their evidence of last term there is work to be done for those who were cast aside by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Ralf Rangnick and Michael Carrick in between. This is a United side in transition and you could argue the game is up for many of them before it has even re-started.

Ten Hag fully understands that and decisions have been made on several players. Paul Pogba, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard are among those to have had their departures confirmed, but they are not alone and further stars will soon look back at those Carrington closing gates for the final time.

On the flip side, others such as David de Gea and Cristiano Ronaldo – plus the majority of signings made during the Solskjaer era – will form part of the club’s plans moving forward. However, there are some at a crossroads and it will be up to Ten Hag to decide on their fate.

Over his time in the dugout, Solskjaer helped sanction 13 permanent signings totaling over £400million. From that, the man who eventually replaced him has a multiple-pronged £98million decision to make.

United have already made Aaron Wan-Bissaka available for transfer and, as such, his £50million transfer fee cannot fall into that bracket, but Alex Telles, Donny van de Beek, Amad and Facundo Pellistri are in the firing line and might have less time than most to impress Ten Hag.

They will literally have to make hay while the sun shines at Carrington. It goes without saying that van de Beek has one leg up given what he achieved under Ten Hag at Ajax, but with De Jong and further midfield recruits expected to follow, the lesser-spotted £40million Dutchman will have to crank it up a notch still .

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Amad and Pellistri certainly have the talent as their combined £45million price tag suggests. However, neither was able to showcase their best and brightest on loan last season and first impressions will count for everything as Ten Hag opts what to do next with those two.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Donny van de Beek on the training ground at Carrington.

After all, even Solskjaer addressed his concern with the stars by signing Jadon Sancho for £72.9million within 12 months of their arrivals. Beyond that, question marks linger over Telles and you would expect Luke Shaw to get the nod at left-back on the opening day and beyond.

As with other areas of the pitch, Ten Hag continues to be linked with left-sided defenders so, in order to rescue his Old Trafford career in the coming weeks, Telles must pull out all the stops. If he and others are unable to do that, the paperwork will continue to pile up for Ten Hag on his littered new Carrington desk.



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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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