Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has played down the importance of money at a time where Sheikh Jassim and Sir Jim Ratcliffe are battling to buy the club. The Red Devils lock horns with Newcastle in the Premier League on Sunday, with the Toon one of the richest clubs on the planet. However, Ten Hag has insisted strategy is the most important thing as he gears up for that contest.
Both Sheikh Jassim and Sir Jim Ratcliffe are currently battling it out to own United, with the pair both recently launching their second bids for the club.
Fans are daring to dream of a world without the Glazers, who have taken out more money than they’ve put in during their spell at Old Trafford.
But while United would likely have more funds to spend in the event of the Americans leaving, Ten Hag has now fired a warning.
“Money is one thing, but another thing is strategy,” said the 53-year-old.
“When I was at Ajax we had a low budget in comparison to many clubs in the Champions League and still we won the groups, got to the semi-final and were close to the final.
“So it is possible to beat teams with higher budgets.
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“From my analysis, we are going in the right direction. I think we are building a base this season but we have to progress.
“You can do that by developing the team. You have to play better in every game and in every training session so you can develop your way of playing - and that's what we are doing.
“We are setting higher demands and standards for our Players every time and for the rest in the summer we will see.
“Just now, that's not our focus point. Just now, it's about a better way of playing so we have a better chance of winning games.”
Ten Hag also insists United are capable of attracting the world’s best Players, regardless of whether they achieve Champions League football or not.
He pointed to Casemiro as an example, claiming the Red Devils will always have a special appeal to Players.
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“Let’s make clear one thing: we have to play in the Champions League,” he stated.
“We’re Manchester United and have to be in it. There can be no misunderstanding.
“But even when we’re not, we are still attractive for the top Players.
“Casemiro is a very good example. He has won everything, including the Champions League, but he was willing to come to Manchester United.
“Even when we are playing in the Europa League, this club attracts big people.
“It is very interesting for them and they want to be part of this club.”
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United have many big-name transfer targets on their radar as the summer window creeps closer.
With David De Gea yet to sign a new contract, Diogo Costa and David Raya are being linked.
In midfield, Frenkie de Jong and Jude Bellingham are being eyed.
And, up top, United have interest in the likes of Harry Kane and Victor Osimhen.
Meanwhile, Ten Hag has also confirmed he could still recruit Wout Weghorst permanently despite the Netherlands international netting just twice since his January arrival from Burnley.
“Of course. I think he is doing a lot of elements of football really well,” he said.
“Wout is doing a really good job for us. He is the leader of the process in pressing, he starts the press and is very good in backward pressing.
“He is also taking up (good) positions and in his link-up play he's doing really well.
“He is making good movements, making space for others, so he's also good in set-plays. He is really contributing to this team.
“I think after Christmas we have played 25 games and we lost two - and Weghorst played almost all of the games so he is really part of the success.”