Incoming Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is getting to know his squad ahead of taking the reins of a daunting task this summer. And three stalwarts of the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era will be under scrutiny as he develops an understanding of who to form his Old Trafford rebuild around.
According to The Telegraph, Ten Hag is set to study club captain Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Marcus Rashford while analysing the squad he’ll inherit on July 1. The Dutchman will attempt to ‘revitalise’ Maguire’s troublesome patch in his career, partly by investigating why he appears more comfortable playing for England than United.
Rashford, unlike the £80million paid for Maguire and £50m Wan-Bissaka, is a product of the club’s academy and showcased elite levels of quality under Solskjaer. However, he has endured a woeful 2021-22 campaign and looks shot of all confidence that once made him one of Europe’s most exciting talents.
Ten Hag is likely to give the 24-year-old a chance to succeed under his watch, but the report claims there is a growing sense that United and Rashford could both benefit from allowing him to start a new challenge elsewhere. His contract expires in 2023, so any departure would be on a permanent transfer.
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Wan-Bissaka has also struggled for form like the aforementioned duo this term, losing his place as the Red Devils’ first-choice right-back to Diogo Dalot under Ralf Rangnick. His status will be another that Ten Hag reviews as part of his in-tray once his Ajax tenure is complete.
The report adds that while the 52-year-old coach evaluates the trio, he has already settled on a core of ‘roughly eight players’ that he is confident he can trust and build his new-look squad around. Judging on the latest murmurs, though, Maguire, Wan-Bissaka and Rashford might not be present within that group yet.
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Ten Hag is understood to agree with Rangnick’s honest assessment that United need ‘six, seven, eight, maybe 10 new players’ this summer. However, he understands such business will take more than one transfer window to process and expects at least three key incomings in his first as boss.
He has three more games remaining as Ajax manager as he is inches away from securing a third successive Dutch Eredivisie title. Once that mission is rounded off, planning for next season in M16 will be full steam ahead.
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