Erik ten Hag sets out plans for Man Utd
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Erik ten Hag is set to lead a major rebuild at Manchester United following another dismal campaign for the Red Devils. Jamie Carragher has previously claimed that Thomas Tuchel and Pep Guardiola would lead the Red Devils to title glory – and the new boss will be hoping to prove he can compete with his big-name rivals.
Six months on from the Europa League final defeat to Villarreal, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was dismissed following a poor start to the season. Liverpool handed out a five-goal thrashing at Old Trafford, and a heavy defeat at newly-promoted Watford proved to be the final straw for the club legend.
Former Ajax boss ten Hag will become the fifth permanent appointment tasked with reviving the club’s fortunes since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013. Speculation is mounting over an expected spending spree in excess of £100 million, with a host of underperforming stars expected to be ushered towards the exit door.
However, it has quickly been forgotten that United were actually tipped to break the duopoly of rivals Liverpool and Manchester City at the Premier League summit this season. A combined total in the region of £107 million was splashed on the statement signings of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane.
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The England international was viewed as one of Europe’s most exciting attackers having flourished in a four-year spell with Borussia Dortmund. The promise of Sancho was balanced by the track record of serial winner Varane, with the former Real Madrid defender lifting the Champions League four times during a decade in the Spanish capital.
Such was the confidence generated by these two additions, Gary Neville claimed United were just a Harry Kane signing away from conteding for the Premier League title. The England captain was the subject of a transfer saga last summer, with City falling well short of Tottenham’s reported £150 million valuation.
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Liverpool legend and fellow Sky Sports pundit Carragher has regularly sparred with Neville over their contrasting views on United in recent seasons. However, in August of last year, the former defender actually believed the Red Devils boasted a squad capable of competing for the title.
Solskjaer was the man in charge at this point, and Carragher claimed if either Pep Guardiola or Thomas Tuchel were in the hot seat, United would win the league. He told Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football: “Whenever I listen to Gary or Roy (Keane) the answer is always go and spend £100m.
“It’s always what I hear on the show. You see Chelsea getting [Romelu] Lukaku and a good start to the season, saying it’s going to be them or City. Man United finished above both of them in the table.
‘I don’t see how Man Utd can’t compete. If Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel had Man Utd’s squad they would win the league. You’re comparing Liverpool to United, why not compare them to City or Chelsea? Liverpool didn’t have the revenues to compete right away.”
The narrative has since drastically changed over the course of the season, with Neville tipping ten Hag to lead a ‘brutal transition’ with expectations lowered after a nightmare campaign. However, it was not so long ago that Carragher and Neville felt United were close to a title challenge, hinting that the new Red Devils boss could have the team competing sooner rather than later.
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