Erik ten Hag conveys a message with Manchester United’s board before the transfer deadline.
Erik ten Hag has urged Manchester United to “strike” if a suitable opportunity presents itself in the final days of the transfer window, but he admits the decision is out of his hands.
United have loaned out Jack Butland and Wout Weghorst until the end of the season and are believed to be short on funds to make any significant permanent additions this month.
Ten Hag’s first summer transfer window cost the club a record £225.4 million, and new financial sustainability regulations have put pressure on United to sell players in the summer.
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United owe £306 million in transfer fees, and while a new starting striker is their top priority this summer, Ten Hag is said to be looking for a dynamic midfielder and a right-back.
Tottenham’s pivot United are interested in Harry Kane and Napoli striker Victor Osimhen, while Ten Hag is a fan of Benfica and Portugal forward Goncalo Ramos, as well as Ajax and Ghana striker Mohammed Kudus.
Ten Hag is willing to pursue Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong again after United agreed to a €85 million fee for him in the summer. The club has also not ruled out another attempt to sign Jude Bellingham, who chose to join Borussia Dortmund three years ago.
“I have an idea, yeah,” Ten Hag said of United’s summer recruitment plans. “But also in the coming days if we had the opportunity I would go for it but that’s not also up to me. That is also obvious.
“I think this club always has to have the approach that every day you have to get better so if there are opportunities to get better then you have to strike. That’s my approach so I’m looking around, to research.
“But I have an idea with which profiles we could strengthen the squad.”
United are the country’s only club competing on four fronts. After a 3-0 semi-final first-leg win over Nottingham Forest, they are almost certain to reach the League Cup final, and Championship side Reading are due at Old Trafford in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday.
United, who are fourth in the Premier League after 20 games, will also play Barcelona in a two-leg Europa League play-off next month. Ten Hag is pleased with the team’s progress, which has put them in position to have an unqualified successful season.
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“That’s good – that’s why we need all the players we have in the squad here,” he remarked. “To develop them but especially to get the right results out of it.
“And we want to stay in those competitions as long as possible so we have to fight for that. That is good for the development of this squad.
“If we are ahead or not in the process I don’t know. What we do is every day we have to give our maximum, good is not good enough. We have to do better so we keep going with the progress and the progress is about that. It’s never at an end.
“We have to approach it like that. If we’re ahead or not in the progress it’s not that important – it’s where we are now. We want to win every game. It doesn’t matter who the opponent is.”
Reading is the first of nine games in 30 days for United, who will play Leeds back-to-back in February if both teams avoid an FA Cup fourth round replay. “It’s difficult, but I think games are always preferable to training,” Ten Hag shrugged. “Players like more games than they train so we are looking forward. To deal with that, there is a good spirit and a good mood in this dressing room.”