Ronaldo not for sale, De Jong’s approach and hope for Eriksen
While Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham already have notable new recruits (and some have more than one), Manchester United, who are most in need of a change of personnel after a disappointing season, had not made a single transfer by the end of June. That means Eric ten Hague will have to build in new players as the pre-season progresses, which only complicates the task of Man United’s new coach. And the lack of transfers is a concern not only for the fans, but also within the team: in particular, the club’s passivity could affect Cristiano Ronaldo’s plans.
Manchester United expect Cristiano to stay at Old Trafford
Last week it was reported that Cristiano Ronaldo’s agent met with new Chelsea boss Todd Boely. The sensational transfer is still a long way off, but the leaked information when it comes to such matters could not have been accidental. The Portuguese star is stating his displeasure to Manchester United. Cristiano was ready to leave Old Trafford after the team failed to qualify for the Champions League, but Eric ten Hague was able to convince the five Ballon d’Or winner.
It was both about Ronaldo’s role in the team and his sporting ambitions, which so far have by no means been confirmed. MJ start their preparations for the new season today and Eric ten Hag is expected to have 12 to 15 players at his first training session. Some of the players have left United, national teamers, including Ronaldo, will be out of holiday later due to participation in the Nations League games. Either way, the picture is not too optimistic.
Ten Hague has repeatedly stressed that he wants to keep Ronaldo in the team, but for that to happen, the Mancunians must give the Portuguese a reason to return to Manchester United in the form of a powerful transfer in the coming week. Cristiano is ready to stay, but only on his own terms, and if he firmly decides to leave, his current contract until next summer will certainly not hold him back. The club’s passivity could deprive ten Hague of Ronaldo’s support, which the Dutch coach has secured after personally communicating with the forward:
“I know our new coach has done a fantastic job at Ajax. He is competent and experienced, but he also needs time and trust. Everything in the team must be subordinate to his decisions. Of course, I hope ten Hague will be successful, because if he is successful here, Man United will be successful as well. So I wish him all the best, let’s believe we will win a trophy together next year.
A deal to acquire Frankie De Jong is getting closer
Manchester United fans would have dismissed half the squad if they had their way, but a pragmatic approach suggests the Mancunians’ transfer strategy needs to be fine-tuned to take into account their failure to qualify for the Champions League. We need two or three point systemic transfers and signings to the ranks. The marker of the entire transfer window should be the invitation of De Jong: ten Hague has already worked with the midfielder at Ajax, Man United need a midfielder after Pogba and Matic left, and De Jong is capable of becoming a systemic player in a team used to living in chaos.
Completing this deal will cheer up everyone in the team and club, so it is very important for Manchester United to bring Frankie to Old Trafford. According to the latest information, talks with Barcelona are progressing positively, with Manchester City growing confident that another talented Dutchman will come to town. It helps that Barcelona need the money, so the Catalans are being forced to be more accommodating. The clubs are close to a compromise on the amount of compensation.
At the same time, Manchester United are taking their time with the deal, assessing the reasonableness of the opposing side’s terms at every step. New Mancunians chief executive Richard Arnold recently opened up to fans and admitted that the club has been ridiculously “burning through money” for years. It’s a practice that MJ are about to abandon, but it’s important not to rush to the other extreme: cheapskates and tightwads usually don’t get the players the team needs. And Frankie De Jong is badly needed by Man United.
Interest remains for Eriksen, Martinez and Anthony
De Jong is the Red Devils’ main target in the transfer market, but there are other players that ten Hague wish to coach. In particular, Erik has a desire to lure Christian Eriksen, who returned to football after a health collapse at Euro 2020, to Old Trafford. The Dane has no contractual obligations to Brentford, but there are human obligations, plus Eriksen’s family are comfortable in London, and Christian himself wants guaranteed playing practice before the 2022 World Cup. MJ are discussing contract details with the Dane’s representatives, but the player has the last word.
Ten Hague have also set their sights on two former charges, Ajax defender Lissandro Martinez and Ajax forward Anthony. The acquisition of a centre-back is seen as a priority, although United need to look to strengthen every line and position. Both Martinez and Anthony are open to discussing a move to a familiar coach at MJ, but the deals look rather complicated given Ajax’s reluctance to sell these players and United’s new tactics which include “don’t overpay” and “take your time”. Well, better that than mindless spending and bringing in players whose football is not at the top of their list of priorities.