Incoming Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag reportedly has four ambitious transfer targets this summer – but a hefty cut to their budget may seriously undermine his plans.
The Red Devils are preparing for one of the most crucial summers in their history. With Ten Hag’s appointment due to be officially confirmed next week, plans are already well underway behind the scenes. The Dutchman’s first mission will be to be finalise his backroom team. But after that, all the focus will turn to which players United decide to buy and sell.
To that end, a report recently suggested there were up to 11 players who will be shown the door this summer.
And it seems that the departures of several of those stars will be key to Ten Hag’s plans. Indeed, the Daily Mail are reporting the Dutchman could see his budget cut to just £20m this summer in the event of failing to qualify for the Champions League.
As things stand, Manchester United currently sit a disappointing seventh in the Premier League table. That position may only be enough to secure a place in the UEFA Conference League.
United currently sit six points adrift of Tottenham in fourth, with Arsenal three points back. West Ham sit just above United on goal difference.
And failing to reach the Champions League will severly impact on United’s spending plans this summer.
Indeed, it’s widely documented that earnings from both the Conference League and even the Europa League are severely limited versus the riches of the Champions League.
Ten Hag may need to generate cash from sales
As such, Ten Hag is facing the very real possibility that he will have to generate his own transfer income.
United can, of course, save themselves vast fortunes on wages should Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba depart. The pair are two of United’s top earners. Pogba will likely leave for a free, though reports of a bumper new deal don’t appear to have gone down well.
And even if the do manage to offload a number of other stars, it’s unlikely to generate the kind of funds Ten Hag will require.
Furthermore, the Mail claims the Dutchman has given United bosses a list of four players to sign.
Top of his list is Tottenham striker Harry Kane. However, he alone is likely to cost United a £150m fee. A cheaper alternative might be Darwin Nunez, that said. To that end, Thursday’s Transfer Gossip claims United can land him thanks to a secret weapon.
Manchester United summer spend include Rice and Kane
Manchester United and Erik Ten Hag want to bring in Harry Kane, Declan Rice and Yves Bissouma this summer but failing to make Champions League means a big hit
Ajax defender Jurrien Timber is thought to top Ten Hag’s list of targets for a new defender.
The 20-year-old is the latest star to roll off the Ajax production line, with a fee of £40m reportedly needed.
Bissouma may become United’s new midfield general
The new United boss is also looking to add more muscle and know-how to his midfield.
He reportedly has a number of possible targets, with the list being topped by West Ham’s Declan Rice.
His signing, however, would not come cheap with David Moyes recently revealing his British record £150m valuation.
Leeds’ Kalvin Phillips is another option. However, prising him away from Elland Road looks a formidable task.
Monaco’s Aurelien Tchoumameni is also being considered. However, his £50m asking price – toegether with a lack of Premier League experience – means his signing may be deemed somewhat risky.
Instead, United may well move for Brighton’s Yves Bissouma.
The Malian has just a year left on his deal this summer and the Seagulls appear ready to sell.
Coming with at least a £45m price tag, Brighton recently announced record losses for the financial year and appear ready to sell.
Aston Villa are also keen, but any firm approach from United for Bissouma will surely put them in the driving seat.