Erik ten Hag might already know Manchester United’s replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo – Richard Fay

Manchester United are set to step up their search for a new manager in the coming weeks and it could play a big part in dictating the success of their summer transfer overhaul as well. As things stand, Ajax boss Erik ten Hag is United’s first choice to take over in the summer, but the club has not made a final decision as it continues with its process.

Mauricio Pochettino remains under serious consideration, and United have also refused to rule out an approach for Thomas Tuchel amid the ongoing uncertainty at Chelsea. In an ideal world United will look to settle on their next manager before the end of the season in order to help with a smooth transition into the summer moves and provide the perfect springboard for their next rebuild.

Doing so will be crucial ahead of a transfer window which could see a whole host of star players leave Old Trafford. Having clarity about the new boss as early as possible would also be a huge help in deciding who actually has a long-term future at the club.

READ MORE: Erik Ten Hag is Manchester United’s preferred managerial candidate

Such an early appointment could also be vital in regards to recruitment heading into the summer window because it will allow United to accelerate talks with targets and give the club a clearer vision to sell during their pitch to a prospective new addition. In particular, this could help with United’s aim to sign a new striker at the end of the season, with Ralf Rangnick having already advised the club to add a younger attacker to their squad.

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The Manchester Evening News revealed last week that United have made initial inquiries about signing Lyon forward Moussa Dembele this summer, though he is just one of a number of players currently being looked at. As United were being knocked out of Europe on Tuesday night, Ten Hag suffered the same fate at the hands of Benfica, and in particular star striker Darwin Nunez.

The 22-year-old has been regularly linked with a summer switch to United by the Portuguese press this season, and he will have done his chances of a move no harm by delivering the killer blow against their potential next manager. Benfica’s 1-0 away win saw Nunez net the only goal from his only effort of the match, further evidence that he is a clinical finisher in the biggest moments of a match when the pressure is on.

It marked the 26th goal the Uruguayan has scored in 33 appearances this season and, given the recent success of fellow signings such as Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes from the Portuguese top-flight, there is certainly belief Nunez could cut it in the Premier League too.

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Not only has the South American regularly displayed his composure in front of goal with four strikes in the Champions League this season, but he has also showcased his physicality in the final third with a commanding approach that sees him hold his own against centre-backs, though he still needs to work on bulking up.

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With veteran forward Edinson Cavani set to leave the club at the end of the season and Cristiano Ronaldo also at risk of leaving should United fail to finish in the top four, signing a new striker who can act as the focal point of their attacks is certainly an option.

Adding a new midfielder will remain the transfer priority regardless of who the next manager will be, but if Ten Hag does end up in the Old Trafford hotseat, then he might want to bring Nunez with him to turn those European nightmares into fantasy.

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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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