Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Erik Ten Hag already knows his first two Man Utd signings as Pep Guardiola lets big secret slip

Erik Ten Hag, Ajax manager, addressess the media in a press conference - soon to be Man Utd boss

Erik Ten Hag has already put plans in place to bring in his first two signings at Manchester United when he is confirmed as their new manager, according to a report.

The Dutchman is now the overwhelming favourite to become United’s new permanent manager following an extensive interview. The Red Devils have used this international break to interview the two leading candidates in Ten Hag and Mauricio Pochettino. And it is Ajax boss Ten Hag who has emerged as their No 1 choice.

United plan to speak with Ten Hag again before making their decision final. Indeed, as per a report on Friday, United’s chief executive Richard Arnold also plans to speak with a third candidate before finalising his choice.

Arnold, and interim boss Ralf Rangnick, who is moving into an advisory role, want to get this appointment. United have fallen some distance behind their rivals Manchester City and Liverpool and need their next appointment to steer United back to greatness.

But by all accounts, the United’s job is now Ten Hag’s to lose. That’s despite three fears that have reportedly come to light for United officials about the Ajax boss.

However, his vision for the club appears to have United over.

Furthermore, the 52-year-old will reportedly cost United just £1.68m in compensation. That’s some amount less than the initial £5m pay-out that was first reported.

In addition, PSG would have to pay Pochettino a whopping £17m to get rid of him this summer. As a result, they appear more reluctant to sack him in the hope United will make a move. And were they to do that, they would have to spend far higher to break him out of his deal.

Top two Erik Ten Hag transfer targets emerge

Now the Daily Mirror reports that Ten Hag has told United chiefs of the two signings he wants upon his appointment.

The first of those, Brazilian forward Antony, was widely reported to be a target earlier this week.

Now the paper claims that, with 20 goal involvements this season, the player would be an excellent addition to their attack.

However, the priority for Ten Hag will be to improve United’s defence. The Red Devils have leaked a huge 40 goals this season. That’s double Liverpool’s tally and 22 more than City.

Erik ten Hag and Manchester United hold talks about manager position

Ajax manager Erik ten Hag has met with Manchester United and had positive talks about becoming the new Man United manager

One of those to come under the spotlight is Harry Maguire. As such, Ten Hag has reportedly told United chiefs of his wish to bring in Jurrien Timber.

The 20-year-old centre-half has already played for the Netherlands and will be part of Louis van Gaal’s squad at the World Cup.

He is the latest defensive talent off the Ajax production line and would likely cost around £40m.

Pep Guardiola gives the game away

City boss Pep Guardiola is a big fan of Ten Hag and knows the Dutchman well from their time together at Bayern Munich.

He’s been suggested as a potential successor for Guardiola when the Spaniard walks away in 2024.

And while Guardiola would have no qualms about recommending him for the City gig, he appears to have let slip that Ten Hag is primed for Manchester United.

“Are you asking me if Erik Ten Hag could be here? Definitely,” Guardiola said, via The Sun.

“A lot could be here and I think he could be one of the ones. For the way he approaches the game, definitely, definitely.”

Suggesting it is United who look likely to take him, Guardiola explains why he expects him to be a success.

“If I was 100 per cent sure I would call Man United and say ‘guys you have to take him’ but nobody knows.

“In the past there were brilliant managers. Since Sir Alex left, you cannot say David Moyes is not a proper manager.

“Or Louis van Gaal or Jose Mourinho. All the managers that have been at United are excellent.”

However Guardiola says he would encourage Erik Ten Hag to try his luck in England after proving his quality in Holland.

He said: “This is the challenge, to do what you believe in. It is what I tried to do in Munich and Barcelona and when I came here.

“To prove myself to do it in other countries. In terms of qualities, just look at his teams, to define a manager watch his team for a long time.

“This is a team and this manager makes the players play. There is no doubt about that.”

Meanwhile, suggestions that a former United striker could return to the club as part of Ten Hag’s set-up have been given a big thumbs up by Wayne Rooney.