Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has told the Red Devils that they must continue to spend if they are to remain in the Premier League’s top four.
Since joining from Ajax in the summer of 2022, the Dutchman has led the 20-time English champions back into the Champions League for the first time.
The Red Devils secured a top-four finish with a 4-1 demolition of Chelsea in midweek, and then claimed third place on the last day by defeating Fulham 2-1 at Old Trafford.
Ten Hag wasted no time in moulding the squad into his own image upon his arrival in Manchester, overseeing the big-money signings of Antony, Casemiro, and Lisandro Martinez.
Tyrell Malacia signed for a low amount, as did Christian Eriksen on a free transfer, and Marcel Sabitzer, Wout Weghorst, and Jack Butland all joined on loan in January.
Despite their success under Ten Hag this season, which included winning the 2022-23 EFL Cup, their first trophy in six years, Man United are likely to be active in the transfer market in order to maintain their improvement.
The Red Devils’ first priority is expected to be a new center-forward, although a midfielder, right-back, center-back, and goalkeeper might also be on the agenda depending on summer departures.
Ten Hag comments on what Manchester United should do to be competitive
In a press conference following Sunday’s triumph against Fulham, Ten Hag stated that his team must delve into their cash reserves to continue upgrading the squad or risk slipping behind their competitors in the top-four chase.
“The club knows that if you want to play top four, if you want to compete for trophies in this tough league, you have to invest, otherwise you won’t progress because other clubs will,”
Ten Hag said.
“We saw it in the winter. All the clubs around us invested. We didn’t and still we made it. So I am really happy and proud of my team.”
However, Manchester United’s summer transfer activity is currently clouded by uncertainty as Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani battle for control of the club.
The acquisition process is proceeding slowly due to claims that the Glazers’ £6 billion valuation was not met, and there is also reported to be a schism within the family over whether to perform a full sale or merely seek minority participation.
In any case, Manchester United are thought to be working on a big-money striker to replace Cristiano Ronaldo, with Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane still widely linked with a move.
However, the Red Devils are thought to be apprehensive of getting involved in a lengthy transfer saga, and the England captain still has a year left on his deal at Tottenham.
With Weghorst and Anthony Martial both failing to produce consistently this season, Marcus Rashford has carried the goalscoring weight with 30 strikes across all tournaments, and Ten Hag believes the Englishman is capable of breaking the 40-goal barrier.
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