Premier League • England

Ten Hag left powerless in big-money pursuit as Chelsea move into pole position for Man Utd, Tottenham target

Denzel Dumfries and Cody Gakpo

Erik ten Hag could end up losing out on one of his top Manchester United transfer targets after Chelsea reportedly put themselves in pole position for him.

Ten Hag began his Man Utd revolution in the summer by signing six players. Casemiro, Christian Eriksen, Tyrell Malacia, Lisandro Martinez, Antony and Martin Dubravka all arrived at the club, costing a total of £227.4million according to Sky Sports.

Casemiro, Eriksen, Martinez and Antony have all received plenty of game time and are having a big impact on the Man Utd first team. Malacia has had a few opportunities, although he is back behind Luke Shaw in the left-back pecking order.

Dubravka, meanwhile, joined the Red Devils on loan from Newcastle. He knew he was arriving as a backup to David de Gea and this is exactly how things have panned out, with Dubravka only making one appearance for Man Utd so far.

Ten Hag wants to continue his project by bringing in a few players in during the January transfer window.

Following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, he is pursuing a new centre-forward. And his main target is Cody Gakpo of PSV Eindhoven.

The 23-year-old, who is adapting from a left winger into a central striker, was very impressive at the World Cup. He bagged three goals for the Netherlands on their route to the quarter-finals.

Man Utd were recently told they must make Gakpo PSV’s record sale in order to agree a deal. This means they must pay more than £38.5m, but given his huge talent, Man Utd will be happy to do this.

Ten Hag gunning for new right-back

Ten Hag also hopes to revamp his right-back options. Aaron Wan-Bissaka looks set to be sold, while Diogo Dalot isn’t quite up to standard for the club’s lofty ambitions.

Ten Hag recently drew up a three-man shortlist for the position, including Denzel Dumfries, Jeremie Frimpong and Malo Gusto. As per journalist Florian Plettenberg, Ten Hag is ‘pushing’ for Dumfries’ signing in particular.

Man Utd will face competition from Chelsea and Tottenham for the Inter Milan star though, and it looks like he could end up joining one of Man Utd’s Premier League rivals.

According to Italian source TuttoMercatoWeb, Chelsea are ‘clearly the club ahead’ in the race for Dumfries. This is partly down to how much they are willing to spend.

Majority Blues owner Todd Boehly wants to make the side competitive whatever the cost. This means he will attempt to blow Man Utd and Spurs out of the water when bidding for Dumfries.

Denzel Dumfries price set to rise

This will please Inter. While they don’t want to lose the Dutch ace, if they must sell then they would rather do so for an astronomical fee.

Dumfries has previously been valued at around £50m. But if a bidding war involving Chelsea, Man Utd and Spurs starts, then he will leave Inter for more than this.

Whichever club wins the transfer pursuit, they will be getting a top player on their hands. Dumfries has been very impressive for the Netherlands at the Euros and World Cup, as well as with Inter in Serie A.

As he tends to operate as a right wing-back for Inter, he would bring a big attacking threat to Man Utd. This is something which has been found lacking in Wan-Bissaka.

But Dumfries also has the physicality and speed to get back and defend alongside his centre-halves. This means he should be a roaring success in England.

Meanwhile, a Man Utd player has been labelled the ‘complete package’ ahead of his appearance in the World Cup final.