Manchester United’s new manager Erik ten Hag is in the United Kingdom ahead of what promises to be a major rebuild at Old Trafford with a number of arrivals anticipated
Juventus have moved quickly to try and tie down Matthijs de Ligt to a new contract, amid reported interest from Premier League clubs, including Manchester United.
Erik ten Hag worked with the Dutch defender during their time at Ajax and he is now keen for a reunion at Old Trafford. The new United boss is now in the UK, having cut short his time in the Netherlands to get a headstart on the mammoth Red Devils rebuilding job.
Ten Hag will be in attendance for United’s final game of a miserable Premier League season, where defeat at Crystal Palace could see them drop down in the Europa Conference League next season. That would have an immediate impact on his recruitment plans, as he looks to bring in players capable of implementing his high-pressing style.
De Ligt would have no such issue, with the central defender playing a key role in the run which saw Ten Hag’s Ajax come within a whisker of the Champions League final in 2019. And reports have suggested he would be interested in signing him for United, with their leaky defence remaining an issue he must solve.
United have conceded 56 Premier League goals this season, despite pairing Raphael Varane with Harry Maguire at the heart of their defence. Captain Maguire has endured a torrid season, while Varane has struggled for fitness.
It is understood that Ten Hag wants a pacey defender that is comfortable on the ball, as well as a new midfielder to play in the No.6 role and a forward to complement Cristiano Ronaldo.
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De Ligt fits the bill perfectly for United, but they face a battle to convince him to depart Turin, with a new contract reportedly on the table from the Italian giants.
Having signed for £77milion in 2019, De Ligt currently has two years remaining on his deal and Bianconeri bosses are desperate to not find themselves in a situation next summer, where they could be forced to cash in.
Tuttomercato report that two proposals have been formally offered to the 22-year-old, the first of which lasting until 2026, while there is another that would see him take a wage decrease, but would reduce his release clause. Talks are said to be ongoing, with De Ligt still deliberating about the new clauses and salary.
Meanwhile, United’s summer plans look set to truly kickstart next week, with Ten Hag and interim boss Ralf Rangnick talks on how they will move forward booked in. Rangnick, who will remain at the club in an advisory capacity, confirmed he has been in touch with the new boss, but will have a face-to-face chat at the end of the season.
He explained: He said: “We’ve been in contact via WhatsApp and hopefully we’ll have the opportunity to meet and speak in person, either over the weekend or on Monday morning at the latest. I’m looking forward to speaking with him in person and getting to know him in person.
“I still strongly believe that there are a core of players that are top, that are well worth and good enough to play for this club and, hopefully, most of those players will still be here next season. If the board, Erik, the scouting department will help them with all the issues that I can bring in to help them.”