At the end of his media conference after Manchester United’s defeat in the FA Cup final on 3 June, manager Erik ten Hag was asked if he had two plans for the summer – one if the long-awaited takeover had taken place and another if it had not.
Ten Hag’s response was decisive.
“I have only one plan and that is to improve this club and improve this team, and that I will fight for,” he said. “I have my ideas but also I have to work with my staff and my players to do better.”
It feels like the only clear vision to come out of United in what has turned into a tortuous summer.
Changes to what was generally accepted to be a squad not equipped for the demands placed on it have been limited.
Mason Mount, finally, is set to sign after three bids were turned down by Chelsea, while Zidane Iqbal – whose first-team experience extended to a single minute as a substitute in a dead-rubber Europa League group game in December 2021 – has been sold to Dutch side Utrecht.
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Apart from that, there has been the exits of Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe, whose contracts have expired.
But there is no resolution to the ownership situation. There is no resolution to David de Gea’s contract situation. No new number nine has come in.
At least it means there will be a sense of familiarity for Ten Hag when he returns to Carrington for the start of pre-season training during the next week. But, given the activity at rival clubs, the Dutchman is facing a difficult few weeks.
Written by: Debby Eselebor
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