It’s official now. Erik ten Hag will assume the role of the head coach of Manchester United FC, starting from the following season. The Dutch manager would be under a lot of pressure to deliver, as the United fans would expect nothing short of dominance from the new head. The renewed sense of hope might weigh down Ajax’s boss as he must ensure to whip the squad back in shape. It’s been a while since United last enjoyed. They have been stranded out in the league and other tournaments repeatedly. They brought in the club legend Cristiano Ronaldo to change things, and he made an immediate impact, but FC Barcelona has already taught us that one man can’t carry a team to success. CR7 sees himself in a position where his eternal rival Leo Messi used to be until a year ago, dragging an unmotivated bunch to the top of the table. Ole Gunnar’s leadership was thought to be the reason behind the team’s attitude, and the Norwegian was sacked immediately. Ralf Rangnick was brought in his place, but the German failed to deliver. While Erik ten Hag definitely has a better resume than the others, he would need a bunch of new faces to implement his style into the squad.
5. James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)
This season, the English International has been decent, producing quality from the midfield for the Saints. Starting in 33 games for the Southampton, he has scored nine goals and five assists this season. Ward-Prowse is known for his ability to score from a dead-ball situation, particularly free-kicks. Pep Guardiola said that James Ward-Prowse might be a better set-piece taker than Kevin De Bruyne. Erik ten Hag needs such a presence on his squad. Ward-Prowse has also shown his composure and leadership, captaining the Saints impressively throughout the season. His price tag looming around £25 million makes him a good buy for the Red Devils.
4. Kalvin Phillips (Leeds)
The Leeds midfielder has been on United’s radar for a while now. Kalvin Phillips was a name which pleased most of the United’s scouts, to such an extent that the chief scout of Manchester United U18, David Harrison, has recommended this name to the management at least a couple dozen times. Still, Solksjaer was always against bringing him to Trafford. It can be said that Ole wasn’t right at this one, seeing how the youngster has developed. Due to the injuries, Kalvin has only played 16 games this season, but the Englishman is a gem in defensive midfield. Kalvin also has a sturdy physique with stamina rivalling that of N’Golo Kante. Man Utd seriously needs some steel in the midfield, and Kalvin Phillips might be the man for the job. He might be valued near £50 million, but he could run the midfield of the Red Devils for the years to come.
3. Pau Torres (Villarreal)
The Spaniard is having a blast this season. After defeating United in the Europa League final last season, Pau Torres and his Villarreal landed in the Champions League. Many believed the Yellow Submarine would be out on the group stage, but beating all the odds, Villareal is standing against United’s eternal rivals, Liverpool, in the semi-finals. Their march to the semi-finals has been incredible as they defeated the likes of Juventus and Bayern Munich along the way. Pau Torres has been one of the most significant contributors in this run. The left-footed centre-back is technically sound and physically strong. His aerial ability and composure make him a perfect choice in the back. Harry Maguire’s uninspiring form has led many to question his ability, and Erik ten Hag would not want to risk in his debut season. Pau Torres could be available at a price near £50 million, but his arrival can change the leaking United defence.
2. Darwin Nunez (Benfica)
United’s greatest fear this season has been ‘What if Cristiano isn’t available?’ and rightly so. Whenever Cristiano is absent, United can’t even manage a single ray of hope. The over-reliance on the Portuguese forward can be fatal for the Red Devils, as a sudden injury to the star can stab their title hopes next season. Keeping that in mind, Erik ten Hag would want to bring in a striker who can compete with the GOAT and deliver whenever necessary. With the top goods like Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland out of reach, Man Utd has gone after the SL Benfica star, Darwin Nunez. The Uruguayan has been dubbed as the next Suarez and can add quality to United’s attack line, something they have been missing this season. With 26 goals in 27 matches, Nunez scores at a splendid rate of a goal every 73 minutes. To add it up, he would only cost around £40 million to get.
1. Declan Rice (West Ham)
Now, this is a real quality player. Declan Rice is dubbed as the next best English player after Harry Kane. The defensive midfielder has risen through the ranks in West Ham from a youth prospect to their captain. Rice has it all. With defensive Awareness, Passing ability, Physique, Stamina, Composure and Leadership, he ticks all the right boxes. He mainly plays as a Defensive Midfielder but is also a competent Centre-Back. Declan can be a breath of fresh air in the current United squad. Erik ten Hag would look to use Declan Rice as he used Ryan Gravenberch. The English international has a steep asking price of £80 million, but seeing that he is only 23, he still has his peak years to come. United can definitely spend this much on a player who may lead them in the near future. Chelsea’s transfer ban can also give United a decent boost in their pursual of the English Star.