Ronaldo issues and still no De Jong – brutal truth of United has arrived for Ten Hag

There is no doubt Erik ten Hag did his homework on Manchester United earlier than taking the job, however testimonies from mates and colleagues can solely inform a lot. Little prepares a brand new supervisor for the realities at Old Trafford till he’s within the dugout.

Now, within the week previous his first Premier League match, Ten Hag has a greater concept. So a lot for a clean begin to his debut marketing campaign in England — the distractions maintain coming like velocity bumps and are magnified by the dimensions of curiosity in United.

Cristiano Ronaldo supplied the most important problem for Ten Hag to navigate by leaving Old Trafford earlier than the ultimate whistle towards Rayo Vallecano on Sunday, having began the pleasant. Ronaldo did so of his personal accord, forcing United to determine the best way to reply. It was the identical when Ronaldo flew to Portugal final season as a substitute of attending the Manchester derby.

Ten Hag didn’t conduct a press convention after the Vallecano sport however as half of the Premier League build-up, gave an interview to Dutch broadcaster Viaplay during which he made his views plain.

Ten Hag started by emphasizing how Ronaldo was not alone in exiting early. “There had been much more who went house,” he mentioned, moderating the main focus in order that what got here subsequent was not an remoted reprimand.

“It’s unacceptable, for everyone,” he added. “We are a staff and you must keep till the top.”

Ronaldo and others left Old Trafford early after the pleasant with Vallecano – Ten Hag was not impressed (Photo: Getty Images)

At Ajax, the place Ten Hag had whole authority, that may be matter closed. At most, additional scrutiny would have been confined to the Netherlands. But the eye is international at United and, confronted with a participant whose following measures are within the a whole bunch of thousands and thousands, the questions will maintain coming.

How Ten Hag responds to that dynamic can be fascinating. His driving ethos is the collective, a compelling issue for United executives in his appointment. Ronaldo is a person aside, although, and has been performing as such throughout his makes an attempt to get a switch to a Champions League staff.

An exit seems more and more unlikely, nonetheless. Sources regarded his full participation in United’s Premier League media day at Carrington on Tuesday as notable, and the pool of potential patrons has shrunk. United haven’t fielded a bid, apart from from an unnamed Saudi Arabian membership.

United have insisted all alongside that Ronaldo will not be for sale, with Joel Glazer concerned in discussions, and though it’s understood some on the membership voiced an alternate opinion because the 37-year-old stayed away from the pre-season tour, it is seemingly Ten Hag might want to work out a strategy to incorporate him into his facet — and handle these inevitable flashpoints when he chooses others.

Part of the motivation to maintain Ronaldo has been that promoting him would go away United threadbare in assault. Doubts stay over Anthony Martial’s talents to guide the road for an entire marketing campaign, regardless of a promising pre-season.

United are looking out for strikers and soccer director John Murtough met the agent of Benjamin Sesko final Wednesday. More talks are deliberate over the Red Bull Salzburg centre-forward, however United face competitors from Chelsea and presumably Liverpool, who’ve a very good relationship with the Red Bull group. Sesko scored towards Jurgen Klopp’s facet final week.

United have scouted Sesko since he was on the Slovenian membership, Domzale. Back then, in 2019, United considered a €3million (£2.5m, $3.1m) value as extreme. The price now could be a lot larger, to the purpose {that a} deal is seen as difficult.

Staff at Salzburg have speculated that Sesko, whose contract runs to 2026, might be even higher than Erling Haaland, so the Austrian facet will not be keen sellers.

Even if United can agree phrases, sources don’t consider Sesko, 19, must be relied upon to provide instantly within the Premier League.


Sesko, 19, celebrates his aim towards Liverpool in pre-season (Photo: Hans Peter Lottermoser/SEPA.Media/Getty Images)

Experienced alternate options are scarce. United declined to behave decisively on the chance to signal Darwin Nunez in April, preferring to attend on Ten Hag within the perception that Ronaldo was dedicated for one other yr.

Instead, United prioritized the pursuit of Frenkie de Jong, beginning talks in May. Twelve weeks on, Ten Hag is still ready for his major goal.

Senior United sources proceed to reject claims that De Jong will not be inquisitive about shifting to Old Trafford. They see the first impediment as monetary slightly than emotional — wages owed to the participant and funds as a consequence of his brokers. Much rests on that judgment being right.

Alternative views abound that De Jong would like to remain at Barcelona or go to Chelsea, a staff in London in addition to the Champions League. A improper name by United there, even when primarily based on Ten Hag’s steerage, could be calamitous to this summer season’s recruitment.

De Jong is the essential piece of Ten Hag’s envisioned staff, the heartbeat in midfield making these round him perform higher. It was July 14 when United agreed a deal value €85m with Barcelona — chief government Richard Arnold even joined Murtough in Catalonia to finalize the funds — but the season will begin with out him within the squad.

There are echoes of the 2020 window when United waited in useless for Borussia Dortmund to decrease their value on Jadon Sancho and then signed a flurry of gamers near the deadline.

Amad and Facundo Pellistri have but to safe first-team locations, Edinson Cavani has left, and Alex Telles is off on mortgage to Sevilla. United won’t obtain a charge for the Brazilian left-back, who joined in a £15.4m deal. United’s price range is but to be topped up by main gross sales, as Ten Hag had anticipated, apart from the £10m from Fulham for midfielder Andreas Pereira.

Dean Henderson left briefly slightly than completely for a charge, and an interview with Talksport laid naked his frustrations with the dysfunction at Old Trafford. Clearer considering on exits would allow United to promote decisively and financial institution extra money for signings.

Ten Hag has clearly influenced the switch technique, with Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez all his picks. There is one thing to be mentioned for backing a supervisor’s needs, however a recruitment division the dimensions of United’s ought to produce real, attainable alternate options.

United do produce other choices for De Jong however the feeling is that one of the best are solely obtainable subsequent summer season. Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham, on the high of the record, will proceed to be watched. De Jong is seen because the pre-eminent selection now.

The pleasant towards Atletico Madrid confirmed they want depth of creativity. Sancho’s absence by way of sickness had a big impact. He was seen wanting poor on the reception of the staff resort in Oslo, asking to vary rooms, however is predicted to get better for the opening sport towards Brighton & Hove Albion.

The tremors for Ten Hag are set to maintain coming, with protests deliberate by the 1958 group earlier than that opening fixture on Sunday. After the close to bliss of pre-season excursions to Thailand and Australia, the brutal truth of life at United has arrived for Ten Hag.

(Top picture: Dave Thompson/PA Images by way of Getty Images)


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