Teddy Sheringham believes proposed Manchester United signing Frenkie de Jong faces a major hurdle if he moves to England and is not confident his old side will excel under Erik ten Hag straight away.
Ten Hag ended his successful spell at Ajax to take over a United side in turmoil after a sixth-placed Premier League finish last season, and is expected to revamp a squad that underperformed with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and then Ralf Rangnick at the helm.
The Dutchman will likely be handed a transfer budget in excess of £100million. Two defenders, a midfielder and a striker are all areas Ten Hag is reportedly looking to strengthen.
However, most of that budget could be blown on De Jong, who is Ten Hag’s top transfer target.
The 25-year-old could cost as much as £60m, if United and Barcelona can come to an agreement.
But Sheringham is not convinced De Jong, or even Ten Hag, can get to grips with English football straight away.
“‘There is a massive recruitment job at Manchester United. Erik ten Hag needs to get players in with the right character and who understand the challenges of playing in the Premier League,” Sheringham told Lord Ping.
De Jong set for nasty surprise
“Where is he going to find these players? I’m seeing the rumours about Frenkie de Jong. He hasn’t played in the Premier League and has been playing for Barcelona, who are expected to pretty much beat nearly every other team.
“Many of Barca’s domestic opponents roll over for them throughout the season. That doesn’t happen in the Premier League – every game is a battle.
“The pace and quality of the league could be a shock to the system for Ten Hag. And for a player like de Jong. United could have a season of absolute chaos again next year.”
Sheringham also believes Ten Hag needs to strengthen his United squad across the board, having fallen behind the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea at the top table of English football.
Ten Hag facing monumental challenge
He added: “United need reinforcements across the pitch. In particular centre midfield, centre forward and on the wings.
“We’re looking at five or six top players needing to come in. You need players to come in with the right character who appreciate the size of the task and are ready to get United back to where they should be.
Erik Ten Hag expects Frenkie De Jong to complete Manchester United move
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“It’s a massive challenge. From a players point of view, if you were to pick between City or United, then you’re going to pick City every time at the moment.
“As a player, you want to play with the best players. Top players would love to slot in alongside de Bruyne or any of the world-class players City have. The list is endless. They are the champions and they will be challenging for everything next season.
“When you look at Manchester United, you don’t see that. There isn’t anyone there performing at the moment. it’s such a despairing thought.
“If Ten Hag goes in there and turns things around, everything can change very quickly.”
After a busy pre-season schedule, United start their league campaign against Brighton on August 7.