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Manchester United admit defeat in Brian Brobbey chase

Despite Ten Hag's phone call, young striker likely to join Ajax

by Ayantan Chowdhury

New Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag knows he has a paucity of options when it comes to the strikers department. Edinson Cavani left after the expiration of his contract and now Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed that he also wants to leave in search of Champions League football. If that happens, the club will be left without a single out-and-out number nine.

United had already missed out on the signings of Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez earlier in the summer. Top class strikers are not currently available in the market, making it a difficult time for Ten Hag to ensure he goes into his first season with the players he wants.

Marcus Rashford has reiterated his desire to play up top with Anthony Martial also another potential option. But both have not fully convinced when given the chance. That is why the Dutchman had asked the club to try and complete a deal for Ajax-bound Brian Brobbey.

The 20-year-old shone under the former Ajax manager during his six-month loan last season. The RB Leipzig striker notched seven goals and one assist in 11 games.

What was even more impressive was the fact that he started in only six games and even recovered from a medial collateral ligament knee injury during that time. However, he is not seen as the finished product yet and his ability to adapt to the Premier League at this stage of his career was a major doubt.

With time and options both running out, Ten Hag made a phone call to try and convince his compatriot to switch to Manchester instead of Amsterdam. Both share a good rapport and with the striker keen to end his Bundesliga nightmare, it was thought the direct phone call would be enough to secure his services.

Brobbey says no to ETH

The Netherlands U-17 international would cost just £13million, a fee United can afford at the moment. He has a low-profile and at one point in his career, was rated highly and was coveted by top European teams.

But his Leipzig spell has been a disaster and the Bundesliga outfit are looking for suitors as they seek to offload the striker. After his impressive loan stint, Ajax are likely to buy him back and despite Ten Hag’s late call, that seems to be the most likely outcome.

Brobbey had once joked that Manchester United are his dream club and after being asked for a comment after Ten Hag’s appointment at Old Trafford, he had said, “I’m very happy for him – if he brings me to Manchester in two years!”

But that does not seem to be happening any time soon. According to The MEN, United officials are aware of this and have conceded defeat in their chase. They had started talking to the player’s agent only after their manager’s insistence.

Ten Hag has a clear desire to work with players who are aware of his methods or who have seen his work. Most of United’s targets are either Ajax trained — Frenkie de Jong, Lisandro Martinez, Antony, Christian Eriksen — or have Eredisie experience — Tyrell Malacia.

The Dutch champions have already secured Steven Bergwijn, thus paving the way for Antony to potentially leave the club. It remains to be seen if the United board can secure an attacking addition to help their new manager or whether Ten Hag has to figure out an alternate plan of action.


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