The first job Erik ten Hag had once he was appointed as Manchester United manager was to fix a leaky defence which conceded the most number of goals the club has ever conceded in the Premier League era last season.
The Dutch boss needs to rectify the issue of a bloated squad with United willing to offload as many as six defenders before the transfer window shuts.
AWB not in plans
The right-back spot is one area where Ten Hag is thinking about adding quality in. Diogo Dalot has been impressive in pre-season friendlies but Aaron Wan-Bissaka does not seem like he is part of the new manager’s plans.
With Ethan Laird set for yet another loan stint at Watford, another right-back must be recruited to provide competition to the young Portuguese full-back.
It was widely reported that United were interested in Denzel Dumfries but Inter Milan’s valuation of the player remains quite high. A new and more affordable name has started making the rounds, that of Sergino Dest of Barcelona. The revelation comes from well-know Spanish publication SPORT.
The biggest factor going for the move is Ten Hag has personally dealt with the player in the past. Dest was one of the rising Ajax stars back in 2019-20 and was integral to the side that won the Dutch Super Cup that season.
Ajax had sold the US international to Barcelona for an initial €21 million fee plus a further €5 million in variables. The 21-year-old has made 72 appearances for the Catalan club across two seasons, netting thrice and providing a further four assists.
But with the La Liga giants keen to add Cesar Azpilicueta to their ranks, Dest is aware that his involvement will be decreasing.
Initially, Xavi had planned with the American in mind but if the Chelsea skipper were to move to Catalunya, and with a reserve option like Sergi Roberto already available, it would be better suited if the Camp Nou outfit try and recoup their money.
Barca are open to selling the young full-back for a minimum of €20 million, a fee United would have no problem in matching. The Blaugrana need to offload players if they are to adhere to La Liga’s strict salary cap as well as register their new signings.
Dest’s attacking playing style and ability to bomb forward and track back was what impressed Ten Hag enough to hand him his professional debut at the age of 18.
And Ten Hag would love to be reunited with his former protege. Many clubs like Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Atlético de Madrid, as well as Monaco were after Dest’s signature last year.
The Almere-born defender has always wanted to prove his worth to Barca and wanted to help the club return to the top but with impending additions on the way, Dest and his entourage are aware of the need to keep options open.
And reuniting with Ten Hag at Manchester would certainly be a favourable career move. United would do well to add further defensive reinforcements especially with so many players likely to be offloaded and with the vast number of matches lined up.
United Matchday Magazine – get yours FREE now!
The wait is over. United are back and there is a new general leading the Red Army. Brighton are coming to Old Trafford so get ready for the game with United Matchday Mag. This first issue of the new season is FREE, so get yours now!
- Online football content like you’ve never seen before
- The mag gives you all the news, facts and features you NEED before every game
- Instantly delivered to your device with easy and secure online ordering
- Click Preview to see more and GET YOUR FREE COPY
- Limited time offer: SAVE 33% on a season pass