Erik ten Hag sets out plans for Man Utd
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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag opted against pushing for a Paul Pogba contract renewal to prioritise the summer pursuit of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong. Pogba will leave Old Trafford as a free agent on July 1, and Ten Hag made little effort to convince him to stay.
De Jong has emerged as United’s top summer transfer target at the request of the club’s new manager. Ten Hag wants to build his revolution around the 25-year-old, who flourished under his watch at Ajax before joining Barcelona in a £65million deal in 2019.
With the Camp Nou giants in financial turmoil, they have put De Jong in the shop window to raise funds for their own summer signings. And Ten Hag’s desire to reunite with the Netherlands international would be a crucial aspect of the transfer if it goes through.
According to Que T’hi Jugues, United asked Ten Hag whether they should push to renew Pogba’s contract before its expiry. However, the Dutch coach made it clear that De Jong was his number one priority to build his team around.
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Pogba is expected to snub a switch to Paris Saint-Germain and rejoin Juventus as a free agent from United for a second time. The 29-year-old Frenchman remains the club’s record signing, but he has failed to live up to expectations after his then-world record £89m return in 2016.
Controversies surrounding Pogba were somewhat of a trademark throughout Ed Woodward’s disastrous decade at the helm. So his departure leaves a void in the squad but emphasises the Red Devils’ clean slate under new chief executive Richard Arnold.
The summer transfer window is now open, and with Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur already making waves in the market, much of United’s fanbase are growing frustrated with the club’s lack of movement. But deals, particularly the one to bring De Jong to M16, will be moving, with just 13 days until the first group of players meet Ten Hag at the start of pre-season.
He is understood to want as many signings and departures confirmed before United jet off for their pre-season tour of Thailand, Australia and Norway, so he has as much time to prepare his squad as possible. And De Jong could be the first new name to come through the door this month.
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