Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has confirmed his club are scouring the market for a potential new left-back signing, with plans in place to bring in emergency cover for a position absolutely ravaged by a double injury blow.
The Red Devils have started the season with one win and one defeat so far but have looked far from their best in both games. Despite shelling out the best part of £172m on new players, United are started the season in something of a passive manner.
And the way his midfield have been cut open will be of major concern to Ten Hag, who now has just six days left to find a solution. Indeed, Robbie Savage has told TEAMtalk that Ten Hag urgently needs to urgently fix two positions before the window shuts if United are to challenge for top honours this season.
And with summer signing Mason Mount also suffering injury and facing a spell on the sidelines, the optimism that comes with the dawn of a new season has pretty much evaporated at Old Trafford.
To find a fix, United have now just six days to potentially bring in a new midfield option. Fiorentina’s Sofyan Amrabat continues to be linked, despite the Red Devils letting La Viola’s own transfer deadline over the player pass them by. The Serie A side are demanding a fee of around €30m for the Moroccan.
However, United suddenly find a more pressing need comes at left-back. That comes after first-choice star Luke Shaw suffered a muscular injury that is likely to sideline the England man for ‘several weeks’.
Ten Hag has transfer plan to address Man Utd injury crisis
And with understudy Tyrell Malacia – Ten Hag’s first signing at Old Trafford – also out injured with an unspecificed problem and also with no return date on his head, the Red Devils suddenly find themselves facing something of a mini-crisis.
To cover in the short term, Ten Hag has confirmed he plans to ask right-back Diogo Dalot to cover on the opposite flank. It’s a position he is not wholly opposed to, having operated there before. As such, the Portuguese will likely get the nod to start there on Saturday against Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford.
However, that plan is far from ideal with Dalot’s move across the pitch leaving Aaron Wan-Bissaka without cover at right-back.
To counter the growing situation, Ten Hag confirms the club are looking into a possible emergency signing if the right player comes on to the market.
“We have to anticipate situations. So if there are opportunities, yes. But it has to be the right player. And otherwise we have to deal with the current squad,” he said ambiguously.
“And, as I said before, I know we went through the scenarios before the season with our transfer strategy and if that happened, we have the solution.”
The United boss, meanwhile, is demanding a big improvement from his players on Saturday after branding their display at Tottenham as ‘unacceptable’.
“You also have to make clinical analysis and that assessment is not right,” Ten Hag said about the 2-0 defeat on Friday. “It’s not about the midfield.
“It was about the back and the front. That’s why we were open.”
Ten Hag demands Man Utd improvement
Pressed on what those areas of the midfield were not performing as they should, the United boss retorted: “They didn’t run, or they run in the wrong moment, too late, especially the front, didn’t recover.
“It happened, you can’t turn it around. But it’s a demand here, if you want to win games.
“First 35 minutes, we were so good and we dominated the game totally. We should have scored minimum once, but I think two.
“They were nowhere, nothing, and then things happen in the game and they got distracted, not doing their jobs anymore. That’s not a demand from a Manchester United player and from our team.
“I am not used to it from this team because they always do (it). The demand for Manchester United is you do it 90 minutes and you do it every game, no matter what.”
Ten Hag added: “I told them, I gave them the feedback that this is not acceptable.”
“We have to work as a team, we have to do it with togetherness. Every individual has to take responsibility.”
Asked if his players are big enough to take criticism on the chin, he added: “Oh, yes. We are in the same boat. I am responsible for it, me as well.
“We have to do that in togetherness and we have to face the first two games were not good enough, but still one we won.
“From the other we can take the positives. If we do the right things in the first 35 minutes, we have a very good team and we will win games if everyone is doing their job.”