Erik ten Hag has sent a Manchester United transfer hint to Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Erik ten Hag’s need for a striker this summer comes as news to no-one but it is the most important transfer of his Manchester United reign so far.
His task is made even more difficult by the lack of clarity over how the takeover process will conclude, meaning he has no idea how much he will have to spend in the transfer window.
While a forward is the primary goal, it is by no means the only one. A new midfielder is also required, preferably of a younger age. It is likely that United will see more outgoings than incomings this summer.
ALSO READ: Manchester United hold talks with Jeremie Frimpong
The Manchester Evening News understands that five players are set to be released by United, including Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe. But several more are set to be transfer listed.
United are open to allowing Anthony Martial to leave while club captain Harry Maguire is one player who Ten Hag could show the door. Any defensive reinforcements are only likely to come in if a defender leaves – or vice versa – as United try to navigate Financial Fair Play regulations.
The club are understood to be in talks with Bayer Leverkusen right-back Jeremie Frimpong. The 22-year-old has nine goals and 10 assists this season, mainly as a wing-back. His forward play as a defender is something United are missing.
By entering negotiations with Frimpong, Ten Hag is sending a message to current right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Diogo Dalot played every game he was available for before the World Cup, but has since lost his place to the resurgent Wan-Bissaka.
The latter was offered to clubs last year but had no takers, making his turnaround since Christmas – before which he had played just four minutes – remarkable.
Both have their appealing assets, but United are in the works of securing a new deal for Dalotwhose contract expires next year.
So if Frimpong is acquired then it signals to Wan-Bissaka that he has to go, or else end up competing with two other players for one position. As seen with Tyrell Malacia, it does not mean that Frimpong would necessarily come in as first choice.
However, if contract intentions indicate who would be the preferred pick of the two, Wan-Bissaka would be third-choice and that will not do.
Incidentally, Wan-Bissaka sees his deal expire next year too, but he has the option for a 12-month extension albeit it seems no such negotiations have been instigated.
Wan-Bissaka would be in a much stronger position to land a suitable transfer away this time around, if that indeed does become the case.
While his first season and latter six months have shown Wan-Bissaka’s true quality, it is difficult to argue he was worth the £50m paid for him in 2019.
Ten Hag will need to be ruthless this summer and Wan-Bissaka may be on the receiving end should a Frimpong transfer materialise as United try to claw back some of what they spent in years gone by.
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