Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag ‘wants to sign two of six stars’

Man City boss Guardiola assesses Man Utd's season so far

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Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is hoping to beat Chelsea to the signings of two high-profile targets before the start of next season, according to reports. The Red Devils are already thought to be planning ahead for the summer transfer window by assessing their options in the market, which is likely to be their first under the guidance of new owners amid the ongoing takeover process at Old Trafford.

United are said to be looking to strengthen in a number of positions when the bidding opens at the end of the campaign, with Ten Hag desperate to reinforce his existing squad in preparation for his second season in charge at Old Trafford. He has since identified Chelsea targets Victor Osimhen and Jude Bellingham as two of six players that could be targeted by the Carabao Cup winners over the coming months, according to the Manchester Evening News.

It is said that United are prioritising the addition of a new central midfielder and would like to sign Bellingham ahead of the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid later this year. The England ace is widely expected to leave Borussia Dortmund in the summer and will likely have his pick of several top European clubs, which suggests that United would need to make a compelling case in order to tempt him into joining their ranks.

They have also taken a liking to Osimhen, who has recently been linked with a move to Chelsea and is currently in the form of his life with Napoli as they close in on their first Serie A title in over three decades. The Nigerian forward is not the only attacking player on Ten Hag’s shortlist, though, with the likes of Harry Kane, Mohammed Kudus and Goncalo Ramos also understood to have been earmarked by the Red Devils.

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Meanwhile, a renewed pursuit of Frenkie de Jong is not believed to be out of the question as things stand despite United missing out on his services last summer. The Dutch midfielder worked under Ten Hag during his time at Ajax and was targeted by his former boss last year but ended up staying at Barcelona after snubbing the idea of a move to Old Trafford.

It remains to be seen which direction United will go in when the transfer market reopens, although it seems as though they will have no shortage of leads to pursue across Europe between now and the start of next season. Ten Hag has already insisted that he is keen to avoid making the same mistakes United did before his arrival at the club, which saw them spend hundreds of millions on players without too much of a return on their investments.

“Manchester United didn’t exactly have the fear factor last season,” Ten Hag told Voetbal International in January. “There was no spirit. I saw no team dynamic in the squad. The mental resilience was very low. I saw that as an outsider and also noticed it in my first weeks at the club.

“I looked at the culture of the club. I asked: ‘How did Manchester United become great?’. The club has bought an unimaginable number of players in recent years who have not been good enough. Most purchases have been average and at United average is not good enough, United’s shirt weighs heavily. Only real personalities, who can perform under great pressure, can play here.”

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