How Man Utd will line up as £6billion takeover delayed and Ten Hag frustrated

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How Man Utd will line up as £6billion takeover delayed and Ten Hag frustrated
How Man Utd will line up as £6billion takeover delayed and Ten Hag frustrated

In the first few months that followed the news that the Glazers were open to selling Manchester United, morale at Old Trafford sky-rocketed.

The mood only improved when rumours of a Qatari-backed takeover being in the works broke, which inspired many Red Devils supporters to start dreaming of all the high-profile transfers they could complete as manager Erik ten Hag would finally have the financial backing to form a star-studded squad full of A-list talent.

As of February 2023, United were linked with four big transfers that would have completely transformed the way the Premier League giants could line up. All of the players linked would have undoubtedly drastically improved the Red Devils, but things haven't exactly played out as planned.

David Raya was tipped to take over from fellow Spaniard David de Gea between the sticks, but while De Gea has since departed, Raya now seems destined to join Arsenal instead. That isn't as much of a crisis as some would have feared, as United have since landed the signature of Andre Onana, formerly of Ajax and Inter Milan, for a fee of £47m.

There hasn't been as much of a significant change at right-back, which was the area United were supposed to strengthen next once Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber bin Mohammed bin Thani Al Thani had taken control of the club.

Marcel Sabitzer completes Man Utd transfer after last-minute deadline day dash eidexiqreiqtrinvMarcel Sabitzer completes Man Utd transfer after last-minute deadline day dash

Inter Milan's Denzel Dumfries was tipped to join, as a fellow countryman of Ten Hag's, the United boss is well-versed in the kind of quality the full-back possesses. However, with no takeover taking place as of yet the Red Devils did not have the funds to devote to a new right-back and have had to simply make do with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot as a result.

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How Man Utd will line up as £6billion takeover delayed and Ten Hag frustratedHow Man United would have lined up had they landed the targets they were linked with when the Qatari takeover looked close

The next area that was meant to be addressed was midfield and while United have since garnered the funds to land Mason Mount, it is well-documented that the man Ten Hag wanted in the middle of the park more than any other was Frenkie de Jong.

United tried desperately to land the Dutchman's signature, but not even the prospect of a reunion with his old Ajax boss Ten Hag could tempt De Jong into leaving Barcelona.

"I always knew that I wanted to stay at Barcelona, that’s why it wasn’t so stressful for me last summer," the 26-year-old explained earlier this summer. "Also, I had just signed a contract extension [in 2020] so I always felt that I was in control and able to decide for myself."

United's plans if the Qatari takeover, worth a rumoured £6billion, had gone through in time for the summer transfer window was to completely transform the spine of the side.

That project's crowning moment was expected to be the arrival of Tottenham talisman Harry Kane. And yet, despite the fact that his Spurs contract expires in 12 months' time, a deal could not be reached for the England skipper and United opted to part ways with £72m for 20-year-old Rasmus Hojlund instead. While that fee may seem steep, it is considerably cheaper than what United would have had to pay had they continued their pursuit of Kane.

So, with Sheikh Jassim's £6bn takeover of United no closer to being finalised, Ten Hag has had to operate this summer by finding new targets, all of whom were cheaper than the ones the club were originally linked with.

The 2023/24 campaign will see United contest for the biggest honours with a side not exactly unchanged, but not armed with the kind of firepower and technical prowess both Ten Hag and the fans were hoping for.

Josh O'Brien

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