Manchester United could be argued as still being the biggest club in the world but at the moment they are on a huge downward spiral despite having one of the biggest wage structures in world football. However, money does not always bring you success as United have found out post Sir Alex Ferguson but they do need to spend, correctly, this summer as new manager Erik ten Hag starts his rebuilding job at Old Trafford.
United over the last few seasons have found themselves with a bloated squad. With lots of first team quality players picking up a wage and not really justifying it. This summer names likes Nemanja Matic, Edinson Cavani, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba have all departed the club on a free transfer as the club attempt to reduce the squad size and reduce the wage bill.
However, they might not be the only ones departing Old Trafford with Phil Jones, Eric Bailly, Anthony Martial and Dean Henderson all expected to leave either permanently or on a loan deal.
Who is expected to come in?
As always with a transfer window surrounding Manchester United it becomes like an online lottery in India where everybody is linked with a move to club but journalists are just making up names to get a story. With over 80 players linked with the club from various different news outlets, it is hard to know which ones are real and which ones have been picked out of a hat.
However, players that we do know ten Hag is very much interested in come from his former side Ajax. Although there is an agreement in place saying that he will not pillage the side, he is looking to bring in two players from the club. With the two names being speculated the strongest being winger Antony and centre back Jurrien Timber they would both improve the starting eleven massively.
Erik ten Hag is not done there with his Ajax connection though. Having worked previously with Frenkie De Jong, he is intent on getting his star man back under his tutorage from Barcelona. This has been the strongest speculation of the summer for Manchester United and one that looks like it will go the distance as United and Barcelona look to find the right deal.
Will ten Hag rely on his players already?
He might have to! With no real signings taking place halfway through June and pre-season starting next week, ten Hag may have to do with what he has got. However, United are not a bad side, they have just had a rancid year. If you look at players like Harry Magurie, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford, they are very much out of form and need support from the club to perform to their previous levels.
The former Ajax man will also have the benefit of inheriting players like Donny van de Beek and Jadon Sancho who are incredibly talented but could be like a new signing in their own right as they can start a fresh having only joined the club in the past two years.
The same argument could be said for the likes of Brandon Williams who is returning from Norwich and youth starlet James Garner who recently won promotion with Nottingham Forest. Both have potential and ten Hag could be the one to finally release that.
Despite that, there are what former captain Roy Keane would describe as “bluffers” at the club and they need moving on sharpish if United are to succeed.
Could ten Hag look at the youth?
United have a tradition of using youth players. In fact their match day squad for the past 4,000 games has included a player who has come through the youth ranks at the club. With the under 18s having won the Youth Cup and former managers Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Ragnick giving debuts to talents like Shola Shoretire, James Garner, Hannibal Mejbri, Anthony Elanga, Charlie Savage, Zidane Iqbal, Teden Mengi and Alejandro Garnacho, the future is bright with the Untied youth team and ten Hag may look to some of them to help him build a new Manchester United.