Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is in the market for reinforcements this summer as the new boss attempts to put his stamp on the playing squad during his first window in charge
Erik ten Hag could turn to Leeds United star Raphinha this summer, but reports claim Manchester United could be thwarted due to the two clubs’ bitter rivalry.
United’s latest permanent boss is now in the United Kingdom, having ended his stint with Ajax at the conclusion of their Eredivisie campaign. Ten Hag had planned to be with Ajax for a summer tour, but shelved that in order to get a headstart on the sizable rebuild required at Old Trafford.
Having spent the week in London, Ten Hag is set to be in attendance at Selhurst Park on Sunday as his new side round off a miserable Premier League campaign. And he will be desperate to see a victory, else risk the possibility of slipping into the third-tier Europa Conference League.
Not only would that force the Red Devils into a pair of August qualifying matches, it could have repercussions on their summer transfer plans, with the Dutchman needing to hit the ground running after years of decline on the pitch.
The 52-year-old looks set to be given a sizable budget to shape the playing squad in his own image, as he attempts to implement a more high-pressing and vibrant style of play.
It is understood that meetings regarding the recruitment strategy got underway this week, with the view United can be proactive in terms of bringing players in. According to reports, Ten Hag is prioritising additions to the spine of the team, with a central defender, a midfielder to play as a No.6 and a centre forward all on the agenda.
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However, should they fail to land a traditional central striker, the Telegraph report that he would settle for a left-footed winger who can play on the right and cut in with regularity.
That’s where Raphinha could come in, with the standout Brazilian reportedly on his way out of Elland Road. The 25-year-old had an instant impact in the Premier League and already has 16 goals in 12 assists in his first two seasons.
But with relegation looming, it looks likely Raphinha will be on the way out, with Jesse Marsch suggesting that the only way to keep his squad together would be to avoid dropping down to the Championship.
Ahead of a relegation-deciding weekend, the Leeds boss said: “I haven’t gone through player by player and scenario by scenario exactly what the consequences could be but I am very aware the best chance for us – though there’s always changes season by season – to keep the core of the group together is to stay in the league.
“I’ve really enjoyed the group, so I would hate to see some of the guys go because I think I’ve made a real connection with the players here. We’ve really enjoyed our time together and I think there’s big potential of what we could become.
“That’s a big part of my personal motivation is to continue the relationships that I have here.”
The Red Devils would be in the mix for Raphinha should he move on, but a deal still could prove difficult due to the longstanding rivalry between the two clubs. United have previously held a long-term interest in Whites skipper Kalvin Phillips, but because of the frosty relationship, a move to Old Trafford always appeared a long shot.
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