Erik ten Hag’s first Ajax transfer windows prove he’s perfect for Manchester United

Fans and pundits alike are calling on Erik ten Hag to produce an overhaul of the Manchester United squad when he becomes manager this summer.

The 52-year-old has built a good reputation for finding talent during his tenure as Ajax boss. Antony, Quincy Promes and Sebastian Haller have all been successful examples.

Ten Hag made his mark as manager of the Dutch giants in his first transfer windows. After taking charge in December 2017, he signed no less than 11 players over the following 12 months.

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Among them were Nicolas Tagliafico, Dusan Tadic and Daley Blind. All three are still regulars in his side today, and none of them cost more than £15million.

The situation may be slightly different at a world-famous club like United, where clubs aim to squeeze as much money out of them as possible when negotiating signings. Acquisitions will be more expensive and so he can also turn to free options, such as United’s youth academy.

Ten Hag is renowned for his preference for younger players, having led Donny van de Beek, Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong to the 2019 Champions League semi-finals. This will excite the likes of Alejandro Garnacho, Hannibal Mejbri and James Garner, who has had a terrific season on loan at Nottingham Forest.

Ten Hag promoted Noussair Mazrauoi to the Ajax first team in his first transfer window and he’s become a fixture in his setup. His youth-focused ethos fits right in with United’s astounding academy graduate conveyor belt for many decades.

But his big signings have also stood the test of time. United have had a problem with marquee arrivals that have failed to meet expectations in recent years.

Alexis Sanchez, Angel Di Maria and Romelu Lukaku are the names most United fans would put in this category. They desperately need a quick turnaround that will see their club become at least serious challengers again.

And ten Hag’s first transfer windows at Ajax are proof that he is capable of such a task. He has never let the Dutch title slip since winning it in the 2018/19 campaign, with Tagliafico, Tadic and Blind all key to the club’s recent successes.

Moreover, six of the 11 he signed in his first year are still at the club. Longevity and stability are what United fans crave and ten Hag just might be the man to provide it.

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