Seven Man Utd transfers Sir Jim Ratcliffe wants answers for as trio set for January exits
Four Manchester United players are not helping Erik ten Hag’s case when it comes to the Dutchman retaining power over transfer decisions. Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s minority share purchase is due to be announced over the coming days, and the petrochemicals billionaire could shake up the club’s recruitment process ahead of the January window.
Ten Hag has been given significant authority in the transfer market since his appointment in 2022. A number of stars to have played for his former side Ajax, or other clubs in the Eredivisie, have been brought to Old Trafford at great expense to the owners.
While the likes of Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez have gone down well with supporters, Ten Hag’s hit rate has been alarmingly poor. One quartet in particular has hammered home that point this campaign, which may force Sir Jim to reduce his sway over transfers as a matter of priority.
Sofyan Amrabat was heavily criticised after United’s miserable 3-0 defeat at home to Bournemouth on Saturday. The Moroccan, formerly of Utrecht and Feyenoord, has failed to hit the ground running since landing in the Premier League.
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Reportedly signed according to Ten Hag’s recommendation, Amrabat arrived on an eye-watering £8.5million season-long loan from Fiorentina during the summer. United have an option to make the move permanent at the end of the campaign, but unless his performances pick up, that seems an unlikely course of action.
The second player in question is Andre Onana – the goalkeeper selected to succeed David de Gea, who Ten Hag refused to back as United’s number one last season. And to say the former Ajax man’s start has been shaky would be an understatement.
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A catalogue of errors leading to goals has raised questions regarding whether Onana could be dropped to the bench already. The £47m fee United stumped up doesn’t look too smart either, even if the 27-year-old has shown brief flashes of what he can do.
Rasmus Hojlund still has plenty of time to come good, but Ten Hag would have preferred the striker to notch at least one Premier League goal after 12 appearances, if not only to ease the pressure on those questioning his transfer decisions.
Hojlund is another player Ten Hag personally pushed hard to sign. And the ex-Atalanta forward’s £72m fee means that goals are expected, and plenty of them. While his efforts in the Champions League have got him off the mark, Sir Jim will be keen for any money spent in January to yield quicker results domestically.
Finally, United were broadly judged to have paid over the odds when they splashed £84m on Antony last summer. Ten Hag was desperate to link up with the Brazilian, who did so much damage on the pitch when they worked together at Ajax, but that form has deserted him since arriving at Old Trafford.
With so much spent and so little returned, Antony had the chance to make one of the flanks his own this season with several United attackers underperforming. But 15 goalless appearances is all he has to show in all competitions, making him another striking example of why Ten Hag can’t be trusted to oversee transfer matters alone in January.
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