New Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is playing a leading role in the club’s transfer policy this summer as he has a clear plan of which players he wishes to recruit.
Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong has already discussed a potential transfer on the phone, with the United boss outlining the role the player would enjoy under him at Old Trafford.
Central midfield is an area United need to bolster their options ahead of several key departures this term. De Jong has been identified as the leading candidate for the club in the position and the Dutchman is at the top of the Red Devils’ shortlist of summer transfer targets.
Ajax forward Antony is another leading target for Ten Hag who is keen to reunite with the 22-year-old – Ajax’s star player last season.
United are in pole position to land the Brazilian given his strong relationship with the Red Devils boss at the Amsterdam Arena while the player’s representatives have travelled to Europe in order to discuss a possible transfer this summer.
Brazilian journalist Jorge Nicola has now released a video, as cited by Sport Witness, outlining how Ten Hag is leading the charm offensive for the player.
Antony played 33 games last season for the Dutch giants, where he scored 12 goals and provided 10 assists before missing the final segment of the campaign through injury.
He was an instrumental player for Ten Hag’s side and the boss believes he fits the profile of what is missing in the current squad of players that he is inheriting at Old Trafford.
Ten Hag is being afforded the opportunity by the club to select the players he wants to bring to United and that is clear by De Jong and Antony, who both starred in his previous sides in Amsterdam.
Furthermore, the Dutchman is set to be backed financially to recruit both players – although United chiefs are adamant that they will not be held to ransom on any deals this summer.
All of these aspects mark a departure from the days of Ed Woodward as United’s CEO. Woodward was in the post for eight-and-a-half years but has now been replaced in the position by Richard Arnold, with mass changes off the pitch already with several leading scouts, transfer negotiator Matt Judge and multiple senior coaches departing Old Trafford.
That has allowed a new structure to develop with more power handed to the coaching staff on the football side of things, with Arnold taking a back seat in the sporting side relative to his predecessor.
Woodward’s time was marked by multiple signings who did not appear to fit any structure or long-term planning at Old Trafford, and he left behind a squad which was recruited under five different managers – not include the final coach of his era, Ralf Rangnick.
United are now allowing Ten Hag – rather than Woodward or other board members – to lead the negotiation process. He has spoken directly with De Jong and is likely to do similar to Antony to convince them to leave their current clubs and buy into his United project.
The departure from Woodward is also seen in six first-team squad players – Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Edinson Cavani, Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic and Lee Grant – to leave the club as free agents, rather than renewing contracts and giving into agent demands.
United are now accepting they will not receive transfer bees but will instead make savings through not paying excessive wages, thus allowing targets who fit Ten Hag’s profile to be afforded.