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Erik ten Hag is in England – Who will join him at Manchester United next season?

Erik ten Hag has arrived in London to hold discussions over recruitments with the Manchester United chiefs and overhaul the coaching staff.

According to Sky Sports, the soon-ex Ajax boss is in London and should meet the Old Trafford powerbrokers before attending Ralf Rangnick’s final game in charge at Selhurst Park on Sunday. 

Interim United manager Rangnick will drop the curtain on his troublesome temporary spell in the dugout against mid-table Crystal Palace at the weekend. 

The German tactician replaced Ole Gunner Solskjaer on the touchline down the final stretch of 2021 as part of United’s bid to mount a top-four Premier League challenge following a scrappy start to the season.

However, Rangnick’s men have endured a thoroughly disappointing domestic campaign and will need a result at Palace to confirm next season’s Europa League football. 

Regardless of United’s result in London, Ten Hag will have plenty of work to do in the summer to get the Red Devils back in the Premier League top-four picture next season.

In addition to overhauling a squad that has experienced another trophyless season, the Dutch manager will have to ring the changes in the backroom staff.

As per Sky Sports, one of the names Ten Hag is looking to hire is the former Sir Alex Ferguson’s assistant Steve McClaren, who spent two years at Old Trafford between 1999 and 2001. 

Alongside McClaren, the 52-year-old will have his long-serving assistant Mitchell van der Gaag keeping him company at the Theatre of Dreams next season, as they have already arrived in England together. 

But more importantly, Ten Hag will open discussions with the Man United hierarchy over the upcoming transfer window.

How could be joining the new boss at Old Trafford?

#1 Jurrien Timber

Ten Hag has probably realised by now that Man United’s fragile backline requires one or two new faces following a disastrous Premier League campaign. 

Ajax’s 20-year-old defender Jurrien Timber could soon reunite with the Dutch manager after establishing himself as Ten Hag’s best-performing centre-back in Amsterdam.

The highly-rated youngster is one of the Lancers’ most valuable assets, with the reigning Eredivisie holders reportedly slapping a £35million price tag on his head.

That is not the asking price that would deter Man United from launching a bid, especially if the new boss decides to support or even replace one between Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane. 

#2 Declan Rice

With Nemanja Matic already on his way out and Paul Pogba heading towards the Old Trafford exit, the Red Devils are frantically exploring the market for a new deep-lying midfielder to replace their outgoing stars.

West Ham United star Declan Rice has emerged as one of United’s top targets ahead of the summer transfer window.

The England international has earned a reputation as one of the best in the business over the past few years, and it is no wonder United are considering breaking the bank to land him this summer.

His tenacity and energy, coupled with a supreme vision and pinpoint passing ability, have been off the charts at the London Stadium and he would be a massive coup for Ten Hag’s side. 

But Rice remains one of the most coveted midfielders in England’s top-flight, and Manchester City and Chelsea are also in the running to acquire his signature. 

#3 Darwin Nunez 

Man United have been on the lookout for a new centre-forward ever since Edinson Cavani made it abundantly clear that he will not be part of the Old Trafford dressing room next season. 

With Cavani out and Cristiano Ronaldo in the autumn of his playing career, despite his staggering numbers, the Red Devils will need a new striker. 

As Ronaldo will likely stay put in Manchester in spite of the club’s failed attempt to qualify for the Champions League, Benfica’s Darwin Nunez could be Ten Hag’s pick this summer.

The 22-year-old Uruguayan had a stellar season at the Estadio da Luz, racking up 34 goals in all competitions as Benfica finished third in the Primeira Liga behind Porto and Sporting CP.

Ronaldo’s presence would buy Nunez some precious time to settle in English football and get used to the new environment, though his price tag could prove prohibitive. 

Benfica had initially asked for £50m to sanction their starlet’s departure, but growing interest from Europe’s top clubs has seen them raise the price to £80m. 

United will undoubtedly try to drive the price down, led by the example of Man City, who landed one of Europe’s hottest talents Erling Haaland for £51m.

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