Erik ten Hag has been warned he will never face a challenge as big as the one he is inheriting at Manchester United.
Ten Hag has commenced work ahead of his first season as Manchester United manager. The former Ajax boss will be hoping to revive the club’s fortunes after a sixth-place finish last season, under the interim management of Ralf Rangnick following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Now, it is time for Ten Hag to construct his own project at Old Trafford. Manchester United are being linked with several transfer targets as a result.
And according to pundit Paul Merson, Ten Hag will need to bring in as many as possible, or else he will risk being unable to reverse United’s fate of finishing outside the Champions League places.
“If Ten Hag managed for the rest of his life, it’ll never be harder than what he’s taking on now,” Merson told Sky Sports News.
“This is a massive job. It’s the biggest club in the world and he is taking over when they’re in disarray.
“He needs to bring in as many players as he can because this team is not going to get you in the top four. They need to bring certain players in – (Frenkie) De Jong at Barcelona, he’s a good footballer – and then you move on from there.
“They need at least three or four players just to make a challenge for fourth place.”
Man Utd finished 13 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham in the 2021-22 season. Clearly, there is ground to make up – especially with their rivals strengthening as well.
Ten Hag facing major Man Utd rebuild
As Merson referenced, a deal for De Jong would be useful for United. Of course, Ten Hag has worked with him before at Ajax.
Other areas that may need strengthening are centre-back and centre-forward. But in truth, for United to be the dominant force they once were, there aren’t many aspects of the side at all that would escape harsh judgement.
Still, Ten Hag has enjoyed success at Ajax and may be the breath of fresh air United need.
Merson isn’t wrong to suggest he needs all the help he can get, though, for his first Premier League job – and a tough one at that.