NOW that Erik ten Hag’s appointment as the next Manchester United manager has been confirmed, speculation has turned to which players the Dutch tactician will sign in his expected Old Trafford overhaul this summer.
Here, we’ve scoured Ten Hag’s current stomping ground, the Eredivisie, to pick out five players the incoming United boss could target.
Sebastien Haller – Ajax
The potential arrival of Sebastien Haller is unlikely to excite Manchester United fans who are not keen Eredivisie observers. The 28-year-old Ivory Coast international mustered an underwhelming 14 goals in 54 appearances in 18 months with West Ham after the Premier League side made him their record signing in 2019.
The 6ft 3ins striker showed flashes of the abilities West Ham were convinced to fork out £45m for, combining power, speed and athleticism at the point of attack. But Haller was inconsistent and the Hammers ultimately elected to cut their losses, selling him to Ajax for around £19m in January 2021.
Haller has been reborn in Holland, though, finally finding a degree of consistency to cash in on his undeniable physical and technical gifts. He has scored 46 goals in just 64 games under Ten Hag and the Dutch coach reportedly wants to take him to Old Trafford as the long-term heir to Cristiano Ronaldo.
Haller is thought to be valued at £35m, but United would face competition for his signature from Borussia Dortmund, who are said to view the Ajax striker as the ideal replacement for Erling Haaland.
Ibrahim Sangare – PSV
The defensive-midfield area is arguably United’s greatest position of need and has been for some time. Nemanja Matic is set to depart at the end of the current season and the “McFred” combo of Scott McTominay and Fred offers neither adequate defensive protection nor the desired build-up from deep when in possession.
A reported target for Arsenal and Tottenham, Ivory Coast international Ibrahim Sangare has been shining in the Eredivisie with PSV this season and would represent a significant upgrade for United.
The 6ft 3ins midfielder first rose to prominence as a teenager with Toulouse, impressing with his ball-winning skills and composure. Sangare has developed further in Holland since his 2020 move to PSV, rounding out his passing range and becoming more confident under pressure.
“Ibrahim is a top midfielder because he is good without the ball and on the ball,” said PSV boss Roger Schmidt. “He is also reliable, strong in duels. He has everything a central midfielder needs.”
Only 24 years old, Sangare has the pedigree and future potential to develop into a stalwart at the base of United’s midfield.
Luis Sinisterra – Feyenoord
If United have been impressed by the impact Luis Diaz has made at Liverpool since his January arrival from Porto, they could swoop for a rapid, tricky Colombian winger of their own from the Eredivisie.
Twenty-two-year-old Luis Sinisterra has scored 23 goals across all competitions for Feyenoord this season, while also providing 12 assists.
A right-footed left winger, Sinisterra has lighting-quick feet, enabling him to cover ground rapidly and dribble beyond multiple opponents in tight spaces. He possesses a powerful shot from distance and is an accurate finisher closer to goal.
With Jesse Lingard set to depart on a free and doubts cast over the future of Marcus Rashford, a player of Sinisterra’s profile could be the perfect addition to United’s frontline.
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Ryan Gravenberch – Ajax
Ryan Gravenberch is only 19 years old but already he has spent two full seasons as a regular fixture in the Ajax midfield and has amassed 10 senior caps for Holland.
Able to operate as the deepest midfielder or in a box-to-box role, the 6ft 3ins teenager has the tactical intelligence to dictate play, the vision and technique to split apart defences and the physicality to thrive in the Premier League.
The teenage prodigy has blossomed under Ten Hag’s tutelage in Amsterdam and the departing Ajax boss would surely love to take him to Old Trafford. But United would face stiff competition for Gravenberch’s signature. The youngster has long been tracked by Europe’s biggest club’s and Bayern Munich are believed to be closing in on a summer move.
Steven Bergwijn – Tottenham
The final name on this list is a former Eredivisie standout, rather than a player currently thriving in Holland’s top flight, and a left-field suggestion given his mixed fortunes thus far in the Premier League.
Steven Bergwijn joined Tottenham from PSV for £26.7m in January 2020. He scored on his Spurs debut, a 2-0 victory over Manchester City, and even has a goal against United to his name, notching in a 1-1 draw after the Premier League season resumed mid-pandemic.
But the 18-cap Netherlands winger has failed to make a sustained impact in north London, falling further down the pecking order following the January arrival of Dejan Kulusevski from Juventus.
Ten Hag was reportedly keen on signing Bergwign for Ajax mid-season, and there are rumours he could revive his interest in the 24-year-old with United this summer, valuing the attacker’s speed, goal threat and versatility.
“I haven’t spoken to him yet,” Bergwijn said of the incoming United manager’s interest. “But who knows, maybe that will happen.”