Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd urged to sign France star in ‘bargain’ deal with Ten Hag told he can save career of ‘wasted talent’

Erik ten Hag, Man Utd manager, during pre-season friendly - Manchester United v Rayo Vallecano - Old Trafford

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has been encouraged to probe the potential bargain signing of a France star likely to be put up for sale this summer.

The Dutchman has worked wonders since taking charge at Old Trafford last summer. Indeed, having spent around £216m last summer, the club have already got a silverware in the cabinet having won the Carabao Cup. And more could follow before the season is out with the FA Cup and Europa League also in their sights.

With more money due to be spent this summer, Ten Hag seemingly has three targets in mind. And the bulk of his cash is likely to go on a new striker with several names in mind. To that end, a report on Wednesday has listed the five strikers on Ten Hag’s radar this summer.

There are other positions Ten Hag wants to strengthen too and a new defender and quite possibly a midfielder will also be brought in too.

In improving their fortunes, Ten Hag has done so by also working with and coaching the current players at his disposal. To that end, the likes of Marcus Rashford, in particular, have enjoyed significant rebirths this season.

There have been others too who have benefited from Ten Hag’s arrival. Indeed, Bruno Fernandes is now back to his best, while the likes of Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have also all managed to raise their game.

Now the United coach is being backed to also guide another fallen star back to his best in Ousmane Dembele.

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Ten Hag told to bring Ousmane Dembele to Man Utd

The Barcelona winger looks likely to move on this summer with his current deal due to expire in 2024.

The Blaugrana are eager to offer him a new deal, though are yet to come to an arrangement with the winger.

Furthermore, with the club still having their hands tied by financial constraints, Dembele could be allowed to leave if a tempting offer comes in.

He cost the club an eye-watering £123m (€140m) when signing from Borussia Dortmund in 2017. However, his time at the Nou Camp has rarely hit the heights, with the player hindered by a series of niggling injuries.

As a result, reports claim he could be allowed to move on this summer for a fee of around £44m.

Now Saha, speaking to Betfred, reckons United could land upon a bargain if they take a chance on Dembele. And he reckons Ten Hag has the coaching credentials to bring out the best in the 35-times capped France winger.

“They should explore it as it would be a bargain,” Saha said.

“I would want players that would be a guaranteed success for Manchester United and with Dembele, you’re going to get goals, you’re going to get assists. But for me, he hasn’t reached his full potential and that’s frustrating to see.”

Saha added: “I see him as a potential wasted talent because the guy is so good and there’s no other player like him.

“When you look at the likes of Jadon Sancho and Ousmane competing with each other, then that’s magic competition there, oh my god. It would be a sensational frontline.”

Barcelona winger has time on his side

Still only 25, Dembele certainly has time on his side to return to his best. And while he has never quite hit the heights at Barcelona, his ability has never been in question.

Indeed, sometimes players just need a change of scene to rediscover that spark.

Dembele, though, would not be a sympathy signing. He is a player of true class with only injuries really blocking his path. That though is a worry. In his six seasons at the Nou Camp, Dembele has missed a total of 133 games.

And with the player making just 178 appearances for Barcelona, that is a high percentage of games he has missed.

As stated, his quality though is not in doubt. In those games, Dembele has 40 goals and 37 assists, meaning he has a goal contribution every 2.3 appearances.

For a winger, those stats cannot be argued with.

However, the time may have arrived for him to leave Barcelona. And with Ansu Fati, Ferran Torres and Raphinha also options for Xavi on the wing, they will probably not block any move.

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