Manchester United

Erik ten Hag Identities key positions Man United must strengthen, wants dou signings first

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has urged the club to sign Ajax defender Jurrien Timber and Benfica striker Darwin Nunez this summer, according to The Mirror.

The Dutch tactician is expected to oversee a rebuild of the squad over the coming weeks. A new central defender and centre-forward appear the top priority for him.

Timber and Nunez, valued at £35 million and £80 million respectively, are the prime targets. However, the 52-year-old is also eyeing four more players to reinforce the squad.

He is aiming for two full-backs, a midfielder and another forward. The completion of all transfer targets may depend on how much United can recoup from player sales.

United are currently loaded with central defensive options with the presence of Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Phil Jones.

However, Bailly and Jones are considering their futures amid the lack of game time, and appear likely to head for the exit door when the transfer window reopens.

This should open up a spot for Timber, who has built his reputation at Ajax as a superb ball-playing centre-back. He has also excelled with his tackling and interceptions.

Ten Hag handed him his debut few years ago before making him a mainstay in the XI. The 20-year-old should seamlessly adapt to the tactical system at United next season.

Meanwhile, a new marquee striker is also much required. Cristiano Ronaldo singlehandedly won several games for the club last term. The rest of the team struggled for goals.

The Portuguese bagged 24 goals in his homecoming campaign. Compatriot Bruno Fernandes was the second-best, netting just 10 times over the course of the season.

In Nunez, United will get a striker with tremendous potential. He amassed 34 goals for Benfica last season, scoring against the likes of Barcelona, Bayern and Liverpool in Europe.

While United have the financial capacity to meet the price tag, the concern could be the lack of Champions League, particularly with Liverpool and Madrid also keen on him.

Aside from a central defender and striker, Ten Hag must prioritise a new holding midfielder this summer, given the average performances of Scott McTominay and Fred in recent years.

Fred showed promise with his creativity under interim boss Ralf Rangnick. However, defensively he has been caught out of position at times and there is room for improvement.

A right-back should be another area of focus for Ten Hag. Diogo Dalot and Aaron Wan-Bissaka failed to make a single direct goal contribution last term. A solid upgrade should be pursued.


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