Man Utd news: Erik ten Hag has three burning issues to address at end of season | Football | Sport
Home » Matches » Man Utd news: Erik ten Hag has three burning issues to address at end of season | Football | Sport
Man Utd news: Erik ten Hag has three burning issues to address at end of season | Football | Sport

After enduring a reasonably quiet January transfer window, Erik ten Hag is heading towards another busy summer at Old Trafford as he continues to put his own stamp on his Manchester United side. The Dutchman has made enormous strides since replacing interim boss Ralf Rangnick at the end of the 2022/23 campaign and besides his side's wretched 7-0 defeat to Liverpool, he has overseen a promising campaign that has given supporters plenty to be proud of.

Crucially - unlike other recent seasons - it's not over yet and there is still plenty to play for including the FA Cup, Europa League and Champions League football.

While United will feel somewhat frustrated that they've been unable to join Arsenal and Manchester City in the Premier League title race following a fantastic run of form upon return from the World Cup, they could yet add more silverware to their trophy cabinet having already won the Carabao Cup in February.

Although this weekend's trip to Newcastle could prove key to their top-four prospects, the Red Devils are currently on track to finish third in the Premier League and that would represent significant progress having finished sixth last season with zero goal difference.

At the end of the season it will be time to regroup and there are several big decisions that need to be made by Ten Hag if he wants to continue driving United forward.

Express Sport analyses some of the burning issues that the Dutchman will need to resolve in order to elevate this United side to the next level.

Captaincy - United need to settle on their leader

It's a big call but the captaincy is something that definitely needs addressing at the end of the season.

While Harry Maguire is officially club captain, his future is now in serious doubt having fallen out of favour this season at club level to Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez.

Maguire will want to get back to playing regular football and his best chance of achieving is likely to involve a transfer.

The issue United have is that Maguire cost them £80million in the summer of 2019 and it's unlikely they will be keen on taking a massive hit when agreeing to offload the central defender.

If we are being realistic, it's hard to envisage any club paying more than £40m for the England international, who is now 30 years of age.

Beyond that, vice-captain Bruno Fernandes' leadership credentials have been thrown into question in recent months particularly in the 7-0 defeat at Anfield when he was accused by Gary Neville and Roy Keane of giving up.

Fernandes has since responded well with a number of notable contributions on the field but it's clear Ten Hag must also consider other members of his squad when selecting his next captain.

David de Gea is a player that has always led by example while Varane and Martinez would also prove popular picks. Still, there is no clear standout option and that means the decision will require some serious thought.

Summer transfer plan - The Kane or Osimhen conundrum

Manchester United desperately need a No.9 and they are prepared to go big on the signing of a new centre-forward this summer.

Whatever happens though, their next marksman is unlikely to come cheap with Victor Osimhen and Harry Kane seemingly at the top of United's shortlist.

Both are believed to be valued at over £100m and should United be prepared to splash that kind of money, it's hard to see them being able to afford much else in the summer market without player sales.

Kane is yet to commit his future to Tottenham while Osimhen's stock has sky-rocketed with Napoli now on the verge of winning the Serie A title.

There is also the future of Wout Weghorst, who has turned in some credible performances since joining on loan from Burnley in January.

Weghorst is obviously not cut out to be United's main man in attack but he's a suitable squad player that could be worth signing, nonetheless.

United need to give their striker options some serious attention this summer, it is expected to be among their top priorities.

Goalkeeper - Back De Gea or offload him

United need to stick or twist between the sticks. Either get David de Gea signed up to a new contract and persist with the Spaniard or make a statement signing as his replacement.

De Gea has flattered to deceive on so many occasions in recent years and despite his improvement, it's an area where United could improve their squad.

There are a number of top goalkeepers out including the likes of Mike Maignan, Emiliano Martinez and Jan Oblak that would represent a clear upgrade on De Gea.

But as mentioned with Osimhen and Kane, any signing is likely to hamper United's overall summer transfer budget.

For that reason, Ten Hag's best option could be to offload De Gea and recoup a fee for the Spaniard before signing a clear upgrade.

Dean Henderson is evidently unlikely to make the grade as United's No 1 and it could now be time to cash-in to raise some additional funds to spend.

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