sport news Man United targets Erik ten Hag may have discussed from De Jong, Rice and ... trends now

sport news Man United targets Erik ten Hag may have discussed from De Jong, Rice and ... trends now
sport news Man United targets Erik ten Hag may have discussed from De Jong, Rice and ... trends now

sport news Man United targets Erik ten Hag may have discussed from De Jong, Rice and ... trends now

With Ajax's latest Eredivisie title sealed, Erik ten Hag has wasted little time in beginning the forward planning that will allow him to hit the ground running at Manchester United.

The Dutch coach called a meeting in Amsterdam for Thursday to get down to business and, as Sportsmail reported, Steve McClaren was summoned to Holland for the talks.

It is now expected that Sir Alex Ferguson's former assistant will be a part of Ten Hag's backroom team at Old Trafford next season.

Erik ten Hag held his first meeting as Man United boss as he discussed strategy in Amsterdam

Erik ten Hag held his first meeting as Man United boss as he discussed strategy in Amsterdam 

Steve McClaren, who is set to become his assistant boss, was also summoned to the meeting

Steve McClaren, who is set to become his assistant boss, was also summoned to the meeting 

Ten Hag signed his Ajax career off with a trophy after delivering his side the Eredivisie title

Ten Hag signed his Ajax career off with a trophy after delivering his side the Eredivisie title

And no doubt the agenda for the Amsterdam summit included a discussion of potential transfer targets with United so clearly under-powered in several departments.

It's been a dreadful season at Old Trafford, with United on course for their lowest Premier League points tally and a fifth season without any silverware.

We take a closer look at who Ten Hag and his prospective backroom team may have discussing and what they could offer the team.

CENTRAL MIDFIELD

This has been a problem position for United for several years now and their lack of physicality and bite in defensive midfield is increasingly exposed in the big games.

With Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic departing in the summer, there will be an urgent need to address this with at least one - and ideally two - midfield signings.

So it's little surprise to see United linked with a player Ten Hag knows very well from Ajax - Frenkie de Jong of Barcelona.

Barcelona's financial problems are well documented and it's believed they may be tempted to sell De Jong - a £75million buy in 2019 - two years before the expiration of his contract.

Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong has emerged as a midfield option for Man United in the summer

Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong has emerged as a midfield option for Man United in the summer

It will be difficult for United, however, for a number of reasons. Firstly, Barcelona will want to extract top dollar for a classy player who is still only 25.

Secondly, the Dutchman is reluctant to leave the Nou Camp and if he does, only for a club playing in next season's Champions League. United certainly can't offer that.

There's interest also from Manchester City but United will hope the allure of playing under Ten Hag, a coach who did so much to develop De Jong's career at Ajax, will prove strong.

De Jong won't come cheap but offers an immediate upgrade on Fred and Scott McTominay, the two central midfield options United will be left with.

Ten Hag knows all about De Jong from their time working together at Ajax from 2017 to 2019

Ten Hag knows all about De Jong from their time working together at Ajax from 2017 to 2019

Ten Hag favoured two deeper midfield players, of which De Jong was one, during a run to the 2019 Champions League semi-finals which included famous wins over Real Madrid and Juventus.

You'd wager he will set United up this way initially until he gets a feel for the Premier League but his Ajax side often played two attacking midfielders ahead of one holding one, especially against weaker opposition in the league.

So that could mean De Jong sitting in behind Donny van de Beek - someone else who know Ten Hag well and who could be brought out of the deep freeze - and Bruno Fernandes.

United also continue to be linked with England and West Ham defensive midfielder Declan Rice, who would cost them even more at somewhere north of £100m.

Rice would be an excellent signing, his drive and energy are pretty much unsurpassed in the Premier League, but is he willing to come to a team that can only offer more Europa League football when better teams may be interested?

West Ham's Declan Rice has been linked with United for some time but could cost £100m

West Ham's Declan Rice has been linked with United for some time but could cost £100m

Ten Hag will know the midfield is the area in most urgent need of attention. He will be backed with a substantial transfer kitty but buying both De Jong and Rice would be a stretch.

One of them plus a cheaper option, such as Lazio's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (who seems to be linked with Old Trafford every summer), could adequately restock the United midfield.

Kalvin Phillips has made clear he wouldn't leave Leeds to cross the Pennines to their bitter rivals in Manchester but relegation may change all that.

STRIKER

United have been scarily reliant on the goals of 37-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo this season. He has netted 24 times in all competitions, with the next highest scorer at the club

read more from dailymail.....

PREV Cowboys complete Queensland clean sweep to stay on course for top four mogaznewsen
NEXT ‘Won’t stop believing’: Beveridge backing Bulldogs on hard road ahead mogaznewsen