Manchester United will be limited to spending between £100 million to £150m on recruitment in the summer before this number is boosted by player sales.
The summer transfer window is shaping up to be a pivotal one for Erik ten Hag, who has enjoyed a relatively successful maiden season in England so far.
However, it is an open secret that the team still needs plenty of reinforcements ahead of the next campaign so as to take the next step in the Dutchman’s Old Trafford rebuild.
Signing a striker is Ten Hag’s main priority. The United boss also wants midfield reinforcements and possibly a defender. If funds allow, the services of a new goalkeeper will be secured.
According to ESPN’s Rob Dawson, it is very likely that Ten Hag will need to prioritise with United greatly limited by Financial Fair Play rules regarding how much can be spent.
“Sources have told ESPN that United are working with a budget of between £100 million to £150m which would be supplemented with funds raised by departures.
“There’s a feeling within the recruitment department that the squad needs to be “tweaked” with two or three new arrivals in key positions although there’s an acceptance that Ten Hag will want more.
“It will be Murtough’s job, along with deputy Andy O’Boyle, to find a middle ground between Ten Hag’s demands and the reality of the club’s financial situation, impacted in part by a need to navigate UEFA’s financial fair play rules.”
Dawson points out that at United, transfer decisions are made on a case-by-case basis in consultation with director of data science Dominic Jordan and head of recruitment operations Steve Brown. This time, there is no assurance every single one of Ten Hag’s demands will be met.
Last summer Ten Hag got his way with Antony, as United staff collectively agreed they would face stiff competition further down the line to sign the Brazilian winger.
Dawson confirms that Harry Kane is United’s number one priority. If the Kane pursuit fails, other names on Ten Hag’s striker wishlist include Victor Osimhen, Brian Brobbey, Dusan Vlahovic, and Randal Kolo Muani.
As per Dawson, Ten Hag is pushing to have all players signed before the preseason tour of the US kicks off on July 20. The 53-year-old does not want transfer negotiations for targets to be drawn out until the last days of the window.
In the midfield, United are eyeing Frenkie de Jong, Jude Bellingham, and Declan Rice. Any of these stars would command significant fees and, for this reason, the club’s contingency plan consists of players like Mason Mount, Mateo Kovacic, James Maddison, Adrien Rabiot, and Alexis Mac Allister.
“Ten Hag, according to sources, believes he needs another midfielder to compete with Christian Eriksen, who turned 31 in February, but what money is available depends on how much is used elsewhere.”
The Red Devils are open to receiving offers for Harry Maguire and Scott McTominay.
West Ham are expected to revive their interest in the United skipper. Newcastle admire McTominay but the Magpies do not intend to meet United’s £40m asking price.
In terms of the ongoing takeover and how this blends in with United’s transfer plans, Dawson details, “The uncertainty surrounding the ownership at Old Trafford is an issue heading into the summer with sources at the club accepting that they can only hope new owners – if they arrive – let Murtough and Ten Hag spearhead the recruitment drive.
“The upheaval at Chelsea following Todd Boehly’s takeover has been used as an example of the type of situation they hope to avoid.”
Ten Hag remains optimistic that he can oversee a successful transfer window.
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