Erik ten Hag could miss out on his transfer priority if Sir Jim Ratcliffe isn’t quick in overseeing his planned appointments in Manchester United’s sporting department. United are preparing to be active in the January transfer window but will face limitations, especially if Sir Jim doesn’t make an early statement, according to reports.
The INEOS founder is in advanced talks with the Glazer family to purchase 25 per cent of United after Qatari royal Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani withdrew from the takeover process.
Sir Jim will soon shake hands on a £1.4billion deal that will see him inherit total control of sporting operations at Old Trafford.
He is expected to oversee a reshuffle among the club’s senior figures, with chief executive Richard Arnold and football director John Murtough among those at risk of being replaced.
But while uncertainty lingers over those who have been pivotal to Ten Hag’s transfer plans since his arrival last summer, his hopes of successful business in January are in doubt.
According to the Mail, Ten Hag has identified a new defender at the top of his January wishlist alongside a striker, though Financial Fair Play restrictions will limit spending without sales.
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And uncertainty over the current football department is further stifling plans, with discussions over defensive targets said to be on hold until Murtough’s future is decided.
The report names OGC Nice’s Jean-Clair Todibo, Bayer Leverkusen’s Edmond Tapsoba, Atalanta’s Giorgio Scalvini and Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite among Ten Hag’s targets.
But the Dutchman’s defence is unlikely to be addressed unless Sir Jim quickly clarifies United’s reformed structure under his regime.
Paul Mitchell has been heavily linked with the sporting director job at Old Trafford. He would be Murtough’s natural successor and is said to be strongly interested in the role.
The Mail adds that United will look at cheap or loan deals in January, given funds are tight after expenditure nearing £200m in the summer.
Jadon Sancho could go a long way in boosting Ten Hag’s budget if United find a permanent destination for the banished winger. However, a loan is considered the more likely outcome in January.
A striker could be prioritised to aid Ramsus Hojlund’s development after a sticky start to life at the Red Devils, largely contributed to by a lack of service or competition.
Harry Maguire’s future and Lisandro Martinez’s injury status will determine whether a move for defensive reinforcements is made midway through the campaign.