• Liam Hale

FIVE players Erik ten Hag MUST sign at Manchester United

After three trophy-less years, a surprise 4-1 defeat to Watford in November 2021 proved to be the final nail in the coffin for Manchester United legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Former Schalke and RB Leipzig manager, Ralf Rangnick, was hired as interim manager until the end of the season, where he would move to a consultancy role within Manchester United to assist the new incoming manager.

Ajax boss, Erik ten Hag, was appointed Manchester United manager back in April, with a contract keeping him at the club until 2025, giving Ten Hag time to build the club in his own image.

In this article, we are going to look at five players (in no particular order) that Erik ten Hag should sign if his Manchester United team have any chance of making it into the UEFA Champions League in the 2022/23 season.

5. Darwin Nunez

With Edinson Cavani leaving at the end of the season and question marks over whether Cristiano Ronaldo will stay at the club, following their failure to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, Manchester United are in dire need of a young striker who can lead the line for the club.

I give you, Darwin Nunez.

The Uruguayan currently plays his football at Portuguese giants, Benfica, where he has been since 2020, after leaving Spanish Segunda Division side, Almeria, for €24m (a Portuguese record) and he hasn’t disappointed, scoring 26 goals in 24 league games, winning him the Bola de Prata (top goal scorer award in Portugal).

It’s not just in Portugal were Nunez is scoring goals for fun, he’s also done it on the European stage bagging himself six goals in the Champions League, the same as Ronaldo, firing his team into the quarter final where they lost to finalists, Liverpool.

With ‘Transfermarkt’ valuing Nunez at £36m, United would need to spend big if they are to land Nunez and with West Ham United, Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund all interested in the 22-year-old, United will need to act fast if they want to land this soon to be superstar.

4. Jurrien Timber

Manchester United have had problems in central defence in what feels like an eternity, the likes of Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof have all been brought to the club to try stabilise the defensive problems but to no avail. One player I think would be the perfect partner for Raphael Varane, would be 20-year-old, Jurrien Timber.

Having been a key player under ten Hag in his title winning Ajax side, Timber would know exactly what was to be expected of him. Timber can also operate at centre-back or right-back, bringing versatility to United.

Timber’s stats in the Eredivise aren’t too bad either, the 20-year-old averages 2.5 tackles per game, the second best in the league for a player in his position. Compare that to Manchester United captain Harry Maguire, who averages only 1.1 tackles per game, Timber wins 1.4 more tackles than the current United CB. However Timber isn’t just great at winning the ball back but he is also very good at reading the game, averaging 1.7 interceptions per game compared to Maguire’s average of 1. So, with ‘Transfermarkt’ valuing Timber at just £27m we could see ten Hag and Timber teaming up again soon.

3. Christopher Nkunku

With Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba all set to leave United this summer, one player who could replace all of these players would be Christopher Nkunku, The RB Leipzig star has put up some crazy numbers for his side this season with an amazing 34 goals and 14 assists, this is surely too good for United to ignore.

With ten Hag liking his teams to be flexible in possession, with players switching positions in attack, Nkunku seems to be the perfect play for this style of football, a small and nimble player who loves to run at defenders before scoring himself or assisting a teammate, the former PSG academy player could bring a much-needed creativity to United.

‘Transfermarkt’ value Nkunku at £58.5m this is a huge sum of money, but for a player of Nkunku’s quality he is definitely worth it, and with Ralph Rangnicks strong affiliation with the Red Bull football group, United could strike a deal at a discounted rate.

2. Boubcar Kamara

It doesn’t take a football genius to see that Manchester United need a new out and out central defensive midfielder and with the departing Nemanja Matic being the only player at the club who fits this position, United will be short in not only personnel but in quality.

At just 22-years-old Boubcar Kamara could be the perfect Matic replacement, and a player who could become a regular in the Red Devils midfield for years to come, allowing United to change their transfer focus to another position.

Kamara who has been a Marseille regular since he was 17 is a player who much like Matic likes to get in where it hurts, averaging 2.1 tackles per game, compare this to Matic’s 1.3 tackles per game and you can see Kamara is very effective at winning his side the ball back. Despite his young age, it isn’t just winning the ball back where Kamara excels, he can also read the game, averaging 1.3 interceptions a game, the same as experienced Matic.

Kamara’s contract expires at his current club this summer, meaning United could sign their perfect man for free. And with the youngster only demanding wages of around £46,000 a week, this deal is certainly a no brainier.

1. Aurelien Tchouameni

At just 22-years-old, Aurelien Tchouameni is quickly becoming one of world football’s best central defensive midfielders, this eight capped French international could be the solution to United’s midfield for the next 10 years.

Quick, strong, effective dribbler and tackler, this kid has it all, he is the complete modern-day midfielder and would be a great replacement for his France teammate Paul Pogba. Tchouameni has been a key cog in Philippe Clement’s Monaco side, who finished 2nd to PSG in Ligue 1.

Tchouameni is a very consistent performer, with an average match rating of 7.34 in France, ranking him as the eighth best player in the competition and the youngest in the top 10.

But with United’s rivals Manchester City and Liverpool also interested in the player United will have to act fast and pay the £36m that Monaco want.