Incoming new manager Erik ten Hag identifies core group of players at Manchester United he would like to retain
According to The Telegraph (Subscription Required), incoming new manager Erik ten Hag has identified a core group of players at Manchester United he would like to retain ahead of the proposed rebuild of the squad.
The Dutchman will swap Ajax Amsterdam for United at the end of the season, taking over Ralf Rangnick as the English team’s head coach. Rangnick will make way for ten Hag when his tenure as interim manager expires in the summer.
The Red Devils have endured a disappointing campaign under Rangnick thus far, sitting in sixth place in the Premier League table and in danger of missing out on qualifying for the Champions League next term.
ten Hag will be taking control of the side during the summer transfer window, giving him an opportunity to get to work straight away and recruit the kind of players he feels would bring him success at Old Trafford. Before even arriving in Manchester, the Dutchman is said to have identified a core group of eight players that he can rely on while working on the rebuild.
Revive the careers of lost stars
These stars could be the ones that the Ajax coach develops his new-look team around. ten Hag is also looking to keep an eye on three footballers who have struggled this season and attempt to revive their careers at United. Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and Marcus Rashford have been named as the players that the 52-year-old would like to analyse.
Maguire has been underwhelming for us all season long, often unable to keep up against stronger opposition and has been guilty of conceding some cheap goals at the back. The new manager is keen on signing a left-sided central defender to partner with the club captain, while also figuring out why the 29-year-old is more comfortable playing for England.
Another defender that ten Hag is keen on studying is Wan-Bissaka, who has seemingly lost his place at right-back to Diogo Dalot. The Englishman looks uncomfortable going forward, and even his defensive abilities have been questioned this season.
The previous campaign saw the exact opposite situation occur, as then-manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sent Dalot on loan to AC Milan for the entire season as he preferred to rely on Wan-Bissaka in defence. The tables have since been turned, as Rangnick prefers a more attacking full-back.
One of the biggest dilemmas for ten Hag, however, is figuring out where Rashford can fit in with his system and style of play, and analysing whether the forward even has a career at his boyhood club. The Englishman has warmed the bench for the majority of the campaign.
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Although the incoming new manager may hand the 24-year-old opportunities to prove his worth in the team, there is a growing sense within the Red Devils that both club and player would be better off if they cut ties with each other. With Rashford’s contract expiring in 2023, perhaps a potential summer move in the coming months would not be such a crazy idea to envision.
Fans, however, may be split in their opinions if it comes to that. Rashford is Man United through and through and is a local hero who has climbed the steps up from the academy. It is also a fair call to give him time and see if he can recapture the form that has made the star he is today.