Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Merson ridicules Man Utd transfer target; tells Ten Hag Everton player he should’ve signed to help star who ‘can’t run’

Everton pair Jordan Pickford and Conor Coady

Paul Merson was left in disbelief by the idea of Man Utd chasing one particular transfer target, and stressed they should’ve signed Conor Coady to solve two problems.

Man Utd’s latest capitulation on Saturday ensured they helped Erik ten Hag set an unwanted record. The 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Brentford made their start to the season under a new manager their worst since 1921.

The Red Devils looked dazed and confused throughout a first half which saw the Bees score at will. Clearly, the pre-season promise was a false dawn.

Help could be on the way via the transfer market. France international Adrien Rabiot is on course to arrive for an initial £15m. What’s more, Fabrizio Romano detailed two more additions that could follow Rabiot into Old Trafford.

One player who will not be joining, however, is Marko Arnautovic. The Austrian emerged as a surprise target and Manchester United did table a bid for the Bologna hitman.

The two reasons why the plug has since been pulled on their pursuit can be found here, though Merson was left aghast at Arnautovic being chased in the first place.

“No one wants to go there,” Merson told Sky Sports.

“Their main enemies are Liverpool and they’re much better. They’ve got the team next door [Man City] who are their next biggest game and they’re the best team about.

“Footballers aren’t silly, every team pays [big wages] now. It’s not like Man Utd are the big players.

“The most embarrassing thing is, and I like Arnautovic… but they’re going for Arnautovic, players worth around seven million pounds.”

Conor Coady could’ve remedied two issues

United’s much publicised problems in the defensive third have not been eradicated. In fact, their new manager be actually be exacerbating them.

Ten Hag is demanding his stars play out from the back, though he does not appear to have the personnel to effectively execute his instructions.

For all his ability as an orthodox goalkeeper, David de Gea has never been known for his ability and decision making with the ball at feet.

However, according to Merson, their issues could’ve easily been fixed.

The pundit claimed United should’ve moved for former Wolves captain Conor Coady once Bruno Lage abandoned his back three system.

Coady is a specialist in a back three and was quickly snapped up by Everton. Merson thinks United simply must adopt the back three to protect Harry Maguire and Coady would’ve been the perfect addition.

He also claimed Coady’s arrival would’ve solved the Fred-Scott McTominay debate.

“I’m not being horrible but they should’ve gone for Conor Coady,” continued Merson. “They should’ve gone for Conor Coady, they need to be playing three at the back.

“Maguire, we’ve seen it, I don’t want to keep going on but Maguire can’t run. You need to play five at the back and in a back three [Coady] is a very good player.

“He comes out with the ball, he can pass, he can get tighter. When he’s playing in a four he can’t go and engage because if he gets left one-v-one he’s going to struggle.

“You put Conor Coady in there and he’s an out and out sweeper in the middle of the three. You put Maguire one side and Varane, whoever you want to play and you start from there.

“If you get Coady in the team you don’t have to play McTominay AND Fred because you’ve got your insurance.”