Man Utd transfer news: Five stars named and shamed as Erik ten Hag is advised to sell 10 flops to catch Man City, Liverpool

Man Utd stars Bruno Fernandes and Luke Shaw

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has been told he needs to make wholesale changes to his squad if he is to have any chance of closing the gap on Manchester City and Liverpool.

The Dutchman was allowed to spend well over £200m this summer as he set about his Old Trafford revolution. The key additions of Lisandro Martinez, Christian Eriksen and Antony were among the six signings they made. And the three stars, along with Tyrell Malacia, have already had a telling impact at Old Trafford.

However, doubts have been raised over the wisdom of signing Casemiro. The former Real Madrid man has had to wait patiently for his chance, with Paul Scholes suggesting he was a bit of a panic buy. That said, Ten Hag has quickly set the record straight and dropped an indication that more game time is on the way for Casemiro.

After a bumpy start that saw them lose their opening two, United appeared on track with five wins from their next six games. However, Sunday’s 6-3 derby mauling at Manchester City served as a timely reminder about how much ground they have to make up.

Truth be told, they could have lost by a far bigger margin. And the defeat means they are already eight points behind City and nine behind leaders Arsenal.

Liverpool are two points behind United after a bumpy start themselves. But many believe it is only a matter of time before the Reds begin making a march up the Premier League table.

Catching the two sides is a long term goal of Ten Hag’s and he will want to close that gap, even if just by a little, this season.

Ten Hag told he needs to move on 10 Man Utd stars

In light of the defeat to City on Sunday, though, Ten Hag has been told he needs to replace 10 more stars at Old Trafford.

The warning comes from Craig Burley, who reckons Luke Shaw, Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire need axing.

But the pundit claims the list would include 10 players if he rifled through the whole squad.

“Well to get to City’s level they would have to sell,” Burley told ESPN FC. “Casemiro’s not getting a game at the minute but he will.

“I’d keep [Bruno] Fernandes, I’d keep [Christian] Eriksen. I’d get rid of Ronaldo, I’d get rid of [Aaron] Wan-Bissaka, I’d get rid of Shaw, I’d get rid of Maguire.

“The list is endless. Fred, there’s probably at least 10 they’d had to get rid of and replace to get to that level.”

Former Arsenal midfielder Stewart Robson, though, doubts the wisdom in that policy. He says he doubts whether the club would be able to land good enough quality replacements any time soon.

“The trouble is if you get rid of all these players you have to go and buy some, that’s the key to it.

“You’ve got to go and buy better players and at the moment Manchester United aren’t buying better players, or haven’t done. But there’s not too many that you’d think to get to the level of Manchester City and get to the level of Liverpool, not many of the players at the moment in this Manchester United team can take them to the next level.

“So they need new players in and that might inspire one or two of the better players, like Sancho if he rediscovers his form that he had at Borussia Dortmund.”

Ten Hag needs time to put plan in order

Closing the gap on City is certainly not going to happen overnight – or, quite frankly, in one season – for Ten Hag.

The Dutchman is the fifth permanent boss at Old Trafford since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure in 2013. But unlike some of his predecessors, the United board and supporters will need to give their new boss time.

The main aim for this season simply has to be finishing in the top four. The return of Champions League football will help both from a financial point of view, but also by means of attracting top targets.

However, failure to achieve that will most certainly see knives sharped. The Red Devils laboured to a lowly sixth-place finish last season. Any sort of repeat will see major questions asked.

One thing they will need, however, is their fans to be on board. Scenes on Sunday with a plethora of them walking out at half-time illustrate a painful reminder of their feeling of entitlement. Almost like a spoiled child storming out of the room when he doesn’t get the toy he craves on Christmas Day.

And while some will see that as an intolerence to accept second best, it will have done Ten Hag few favours.

He will need them on board as the season unfolds, for certain. And it will certainly take longer than this season to close the gap. To that extent, he probably needs a minimum three years in charge – the length of his initial deal – to truly make his impact felt.

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