In his inaugural season in charge, Erik ten Hag has led Manchester United to a Champions League berth, EFL Cup glory and an FA Cup final appearance where they’ll face Manchester City on Saturday. But the Dutch manager won’t be satisfied with winning the FA Cup as he expects his team to challenge for multiple trophies. Getting knocked out of Europa League after injuries to Marcus Rashford, Luke Shaw and Raphael Varane sank the team, and ten Hag understands the need for depth, something that United don’t currently have.
He has done a lot to improve the club on a cheap but ahead of a critical summer, ten Hag is calling for investment.
With resourceful clubs like Newcastle United qualifying for Champions League next season, getting there is one thing but staying there and competing on multiple fronts will need quite a big from investment from United to happen, even with the club’s ownership up in the air.
“The club knows if you want to play top four, compete for trophies in this tough league, then you have to invest, otherwise you don’t have a chance because other clubs will do,” Ten Hag said on Sunday after the conclusion of the season.
Ten Hag’s words are true although spending doesn’t guarantee that the team will accomplish their goals of winning a first league title since 2013. Just look at Chelsea’s spending spree and finishing 12th in the league. But if the board does back ten Hag in terms of investing, who are some names that can be added?
FWD Harry Kane, Tottenham
In reality, United’s summer business will be determined by one person and that’s Daniel Levy. If the Spurs chairman is to make Kane available during the summer, a proven Premier League goal-scorer coming off of a 30-goal season would be an amazing addition for the Red Devils. While Kane’s season was overshadowed by Erling Haaland’s exploits with Manchester City, in some ways the Englishman had a more impressive season due to Spurs finishing eighth.
A player who can score or assist, Kane wouldn’t take away from Marcus Rashford being the main man in the United attack and also allows for Anthony Martial to be used in a change-of-pace role, allowing the team to both manage Martial but improve late in games where ten Hag’s adjustments have already shined this season. This move would also give Kane the best chance of becoming the top scorer ever in Premier League history. Kane is currently on 213 league goals behind only Alan Shearer’s 260.
CB Marc Guehi, Crystal Palace
While there’s a chance that Chelsea could activate their buyback clause on the English defender making things tricky, United should give Palace a call about the 22-year-old center back. Guehi has broken into the England national team and could make moving on from Harry Maguire simple for the Red Devils. Confident in positioning and strong in the air, Guehi was a stellar performer for Crystal Palace and will be the subject of quite a few rumors, but with United back in Champions League, they should be able to compete with any club in the world for a player’s signature these days.
Adding Guehi would be just the kind of reliable backup that the team needs and it can avoid Luke Shaw needing to play center back in a pinch which is only a good thing for the team.
MID Youri Tielemans, Leicester City
Out of contract from a relegated Leicester City, Tielemans is another guy who will generate quite a lot of transfer interest. With Marcel Sabitzer, Scott McTominay, and Fred among their depth options, Tielemans would be able to grab playing time but the issue is whether he would want to be a starter out of the gate. Bruno Fernandes, Christian Eriksen, and Casemiro have the starting roles on lock but there is the possibility that with European soccer the Belgian would accept slightly less playing time.
With at least five goal contributions in every season that he has been in the Premier League, Tielemans has shown that he can spring an attack but he’s also comfortable in possession which helps in ten Hag’s patient setup.