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Who Will Erik ten Hag Look to Move on This Summer?

Updated: Jun 26

As the final whistle blew at Anfield on Sunday evening, the contrast in emotions between Liverpool and Manchester United fans could not have been starker.

This is normal to some degree after a football match, of course, but the sheer scale of the Reds’ dominance in their 7-0 win created the type of jubilant atmosphere that usually accompanies title wins.

As for United, those fans who were brave enough to stay until the end, bore looks of shock and bewilderment, as the Red Devils suffered their worst defeat in more than 91 years.

Of course, Dutch manager Erik ten Hag will demand a response from his players in the upcoming league and cup matches. It’s also a stark reminder of the work yet to be done at Old Trafford, but will the result impact Ten Hag’s summer transfer plans?

Who’s Already Likely to Leave Old Trafford?

Some obvious candidates are already likely to leave Old Trafford this summer, including 30-year-old England centre-back Harry Maguire.

The £80 million club captain has barely featured under Ten Hag this season, and it’s almost inevitable that he’ll be moved on during the summer window along with fellow defenders Eric Bailly and United stalwart Phil Jones.

Scott McTominay is also expected to be sold this summer, with Newcastle and West Ham United thought to be interested in the combative academy graduate.

Other likely departures include left-backs Brandon Williams and Alex Telles, the latter currently on loan at La Liga club Sevilla. Despite his recent improvement, £50 million right back Aaron Wan Bissaka could also be headed for the exit door, while Anthony Martial could well follow after a United career that has been tarnished by injuries and inconsistency.

It’s also unlikely that United will attempt to sign loanee Wout Weghorst on a permanent deal in the summer, as for all his technical and battling qualities, he lacks a cutting edge in front of goal.

Are Any Other United Players Under Scrutiny?

While many fans would have suggested that the Reds line-up on Sunday was their strongest available given the extended absence of Christian Eriksen, some worrying individual performances may have altered the short and long-term thinking of ten Hag.

For example, both full-backs had a torrid time on the flanks, with Luke Shaw once again flailing against the skill and movement of Mohamed Salah.

While Shaw had little or no support from skipper Bruno Fernandes, who was played out of position on the left flank, his poor defensive positioning was constantly exposed in transition in the second half. Shaw also struggled similarly against Bukayo Saka at the Emirates earlier in 2023, and there remains a sense that he is too inconsistent when playing at the highest level.

The same can be said for Brazilian midfielder Fred, who continues to combine outstanding performances with those that lack any kind of composure or quality at all.

Fred was completely exposed in the second 45 minutes at Anfield, and while this has a lot to do with the team’s lack of structure during this period, he had virtually no impact until he was

replaced by McTominay.

While performances of this type have been increasingly few and far between from Fred this

season, his lack of consistency is an issue for a side that aspires to be challenging for Premier and Champions League titles.

With Diogo Dalot and Anthony also struggling to showcase any kind of threat or communication on the right-hand side, the United boss ten Hag has much to ponder as he considers his summer transfer window plans.

The Bottom Line

Not only is it wrong to draw finite conclusions from just 90 minutes of football (no matter how harrowing), but ten Hag’s charges have largely performed consistently well and with genuine resilience of late as they challenge on four fronts.

Ten Hag has also established himself as one of the best coaches in the world, and one that

offers tactical nous and tremendous drive alongside his fundamental coaching qualifications.

However, the recent mauling at the hands of Liverpool highlights precisely how much work the Dutchman still has to do at Old Trafford, especially if he is to improve the consistency and mindset of his playing squad and compete for the game’s top honours.

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