Erik ten Hag has finished his honeymoon as a manager of Manchester United. The Dutch head coach was again observing the training field with that familiar, dubious look. The fact that the club does not play a Champions League makes it difficult for new players to join, but fortunately Ten Hag has a well-known pond to fish in. As a result, United no longer has to make commercial purchases. It will soon have a team for commercial football.
Erik ten Hag received advice from all sides when Manchester United showed up for the then Ajax coach. After the dismissal of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, De Tukker was already associated with a switch to Old Trafford, but the head coach did not like an interim departure from Ajax. After winning the national title, it came out that the Dutchman will be on the head coach of one of the largest football clubs in the world next football year. His task is clear: to finally get the rebuilding of Manchester United, which has not become a national champion since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson (2013, ed.).
Erik ten Hag
Ferguson was in charge of no fewer than 1321 games The Red Devils† The Scottish manager made himself legendary for the cartload of prizes that disappeared from the record champion’s trophy cabinet under his leadership, but especially by being United’s head coach from 1986 to 2013. However, Ferguson’s departure was not an isolated incident at the time: big names such as Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, who are known as one of the most successful defensive duos in the Premier League, and Paul Scholes’ second football retirement ensured that next to the big picture (trainer, ed.) cornerstones were also ripped out of the team within the team.
David Moyes, Ryan Giggs (interim), Louis van Gaal, José Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and also Ralf Rangnick: none of them managed to match Sir Alex’s performance. Ten Hag may therefore also attempt to do so, but will join a completely different club than his predecessors. Only at Rangnick did United – and the outside world with the club – have the champion expectations of the trainer(s). Add to that the commercial interests that a club like Manchester United, especially with the American owners, entails and you get Van Gaal’s Manchester United: a team full of players who are good for shirt sales, but based on their player profiles are not complementary to each other.
The fact that players of the top tier at the time, the top talents such as Antony Martial and world stars such as Angel di Maria, prefer to choose other options than Manchester United after even more volatility and underperformance, is a fact that Ten Hag in his first weeks as ultimately responsible. ran against the British superpower. For many trainers this is a deal breaker, both in the contract negotiations with the club and in the sporting performance that the trainer delivers, but in the case of Ten Hag that is a job that he has done several times at Ajax in recent seasons.
The situation of Ten Hag can be compared with that of the current national coach of the Dutch national team, just not at Manchester United. Ten Hag is more in the shoes of the Van Gaal who started his first job at FC Barcelona. Under the guidance of the Dutch trainer, Eredivisie players such as the brothers De Boer, Patrick Kluivert and Phillip Cocu came to Camp Nou. Van Gaal had two main reasons for this: players in the Eredivisie are often better technically skilled than players from other competitions and they also cost a lot less than players from the major leagues. That while players in the Eredivisie often have European baggage, break through into a first team at a young age and therefore also take more experience at the highest level with them when a possible switch.
Malacia is still a talent by Premier League standards, at 22 years old, coming in with more than 100 appearances for Feyenoord, five international matches to his name and a player who has also played more than twenty matches at European level. And that for a maximum of 17 million euros. But more importantly, attracting Malacia is a very targeted purchase. With Luke Shaw and Alex Telles, there are already two left backs at Manchester, but Malacia can certainly add something to the left wing of the English superpower with his explosiveness and fierceness. The fact that the player profile of the Feyenoord player fits seamlessly into the way Ten Hag wants his left back to play is a bonus.
How different it was for Van Gaal, who didn’t get the players he wanted and couldn’t actually use the players he got in his football philosophy. The current national team coach of the Dutch national team left after the 2014 World Cup, where the Netherlands took office for the first time in the successful 5-3-2 formation, and wanted to implement the controlled way of playing football in Manchester as well. That didn’t go as expected, although you can’t always just look at the trainer on that. After all, the club (management) is responsible for providing the trainer with the players he needs to form the best team. Ten Hag does not seem to have that privilege alone. The category of players available to United at the moment is also perfect for ‘kneading’ Ten Hag, and therefore United too.
After nearly a decade of investing in star players, it seems clear that it will take more than a number of world-class players to bring the silver fleet back to Old Trafford. That this is no guarantee of success symbolizes the Champions League drought of, for example, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain. Since 2013, big names such as Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane, Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and Harry Magguire have come over for tens of millions, but that capital on the field has yielded (too) little in recent years.
In that sense, Christan Eriksen’s upcoming transfer also fits perfectly into ‘Ten Hag’s line’, just as Frenkie de Jong is the key to Ten Hag’s success. That also seems to be the reason that United are doing everything they can to loosen the Dutch defensive midfielder at FC Barcelona. That is also the biggest advantage for United. Ten Hag already has a more than proven track record that he can build a close-knit team from the start of the season that can play for the prizes until the end. For that, Manchester United does not need commercial purchases, but commercial football. For commercial football you need certain types of players. The most important advantage for Ten Hag and Manchester United: you mainly need players who are not (yet) world top.
Ten Hag has a lot to do with men who want to play football task-consciously, who go all out to follow the well-thought-out lines of the trainer and thus take the team to a higher level. Manchester United have always had multiple stars. That is now also the luck of Ten Hag: due to United’s financial position, the trainer can attract one player who will revolve the entire game. Frenkie de Jong, unlike Cristiano Ronaldo, can provide so much variety from midfield that United need less and less of the Portuguese’s goals. This also requires a defender who can eliminate a man, but who can also skip a line with his passes.
Lisandro Martínez will cost fifty million euros. On the other hand: if you want to pick a player with so much experience in the national top, the Champions League and the national team from a top competition, you will lose at least seventy to eighty million euros and a player comes in who has a reputation to uphold. and, as with Van Gaal, does not fit into the coach’s football philosophy. That will do well for shirt sales. Although there will be plenty of Malacia shit at Old Trafford if United win again with the back in the team.
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