The summer transfer window has not been kind to Manchester United in a manner that can be compared to Premier League rivals Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham, and Arsenal this summer despite the acquisition of Dutch tactician Erik ten Hag and a hopeful shift in direction that will get the club back to winning ways.
Yes, it is true that United has done some fairly credible business this summer for Eredivisie pair Lisandro Martínez and Tyrell Malacia (for a combined £60m) as well as a free move for Danish star Christian Eriksen.
However, the fact that the Red Devils had an interest in a host of bigger names the likes of Erling Haaland, and Darwin Nuñez, and have - at the time of writing - not gotten any closer to convincing Frenkie de Jong to come to Old Trafford amid serious interest from Chelsea while also having to institute damage control protocols regarding star man Cristiano Ronaldo has left many fans frustrated once again.
But according to Ten Hag himself, United must conduct themselves smartly in the market rather than “spraying and praying” when it comes to new player acquisitions in the hopes that they will strike it lucky. No, the Red Devils must be more efficient in the way they secure players, and for the Dutch headmaster, it is about the right players, not just any players.
“It’s not about signing players. It’s about signing the right players. And, so, we are really planning it carefully and we are really strict with it, and hard working to get the right players in to construct a good squad who can win games.”
When asked about the situation revolving around Frenkie de Jong and if he was the right type of player for United, Ten Hag remained relatively coy in his response.
“No, I can’t. I don’t talk about a player who is not under contract at Manchester United.”
Then pressed on whether or not Cristiano Ronaldo could be viewed as a good fit for Ten Hag regarding the brand of football he hopes to instill at the Theatre of Dreams, the former AFC Ajax manager responded positively.
“I think he can. But, it starts with he has to get fit, he just started, and he is a fantastic football player. And he proved it so many times. But you can always be judged by what you are now...what you are presenting now...performing now. So, the team, Cristiano, and myself, have to prove it.”
Certainly, Ten Hag speaks with a clear plan in mind and an honest assessment of the situation he has been presented with, but as United looks to continue to reinforce an underperforming squad - while hopefully getting a tune out of the likes of Ronaldo as well as Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford - many will remain hopeful that Ten Hag will help the club turn a corner and once again truly compete with the Premier League elite.