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Manchester United’s Troubled Transfer Window Clouds Eric Ten Haag’s Chances



Erik ten Haag’s first competitive game as manager on Sunday should be a fresh start for Manchester Untied, but familiar failures behind the scenes have made the Dutchman’s daunting task nearly impossible. Ten Haig’s predecessor Ralph Rangnick signed off his miserable caretaker spell last season, saying the United team needed “open heart surgery” and up to 10 new players after finishing sixth in the Premier League. Only three new faces have come to Old Trafford so far – Lisandro Martinez, Tyrell Malacia and Christian Eriksson.

United, with Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani, Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata, are arguably weaker than last season, while goalkeeper Dean Henderson has joined Nottingham Forest on loan.

The prospect of a more significant departure in the first few weeks of the season is set to hang with Cristiano Ronaldo trying to force him to play Champions League football this season.

Ronaldo made his pre-season appearance on Sunday, playing in the first half of a 1-1 draw against Rio Vallecano.

But his decision to leave the stadium before full time was termed “unacceptable” by Ten Haag.

The former Ajax boss has shown a disciplinary streak during his early weeks in charge, reportedly reintroducing fines for poor timing and banning players from having their own personal chefs.

Ten Haag has shown no sign of pacifying Ronaldo’s arrogance, ordering the five-time Ballon d’Or winner to a fit after missing most of United’s preparations for the new campaign.

“It starts with her being fit because she’s just started,” Ten Haig told Sky Sports.

“He is a fantastic football player, and he has proved it many times, but you are always judged on what you are offering now and how you are performing now.

“So, the team and Cristiano have to prove it themselves.”

Marshall, Rashford and Sancho’s second chance

Ronaldo’s possible absence from the starting line-up for Sunday’s tour of Brighton gives the front three of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Jadon Sancho a chance to get their combined careers back on track.

Rashford and Martial were the attacking base of the side that finished second in the Premier League under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the 2020/21 season, only to be ousted by the arrival of Ronaldo, Cavani and Sancho.

Martial also spent the second half of last season on loan at Sevilla, but Ronaldo’s desire to leave has given the Frenchman a lifeline.

He was dropped from the England team due to Rashford’s poor form. But he is feeling the benefits of summer without international commitments.

“This is my first year with the team since the beginning (pre-season),” Rashford said. “I feel a lot better than usual when I go to the Nationals and come back in the middle of pre-season. It’s important to start fresh. I feel fresh and ready.”

Sancho struggled to live up to his £73 million price tag in his first season at United, but he did well with Rashford and Marshall in the pre-season, which included a 4–0 win over Liverpool.

Ronaldo isn’t United’s only transfer saga of the summer that has, for a long time and so far been in vain, with Barcelona’s chasing Frenkie de Jong going the light of ten hag in the midfield.

This could mean a role in the middle of the park for the versatile Martinez, who is reunited with his old owner at Ajax.

The Argentine mainly played as centre-back for the Dutch champions, but his short stature of 5 ft 9 in (1.8 m) has cast doubt on his ability to play that role in the Premier League.


Upon its unveiling, Ten Haag set his sights on chasing Manchester City and Liverpool at the top of the Premier League.

Looking at the cards given to them, finishing in the top four would be a great achievement.

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