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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

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Four players Erik ten Hag could sign if he got Manchester United job

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seemingly moved a step closer to the axe at Old Trafford following Saturday’s defeat to Manchester City.

United were condemned to their fourth Premier League defeat in their last six matches, as an early own-goal from Eric Bailly and Bernardo Silva’s goal gave City a 2-0 win. The defeat has piled more pressure on manager Solskjaer as more and more fans call for a change in manager.

The MEN understand United are considering the Norwegian’s position, though no decision is imminent.

Nevertheless, numerous managers from across Europe are already being linked with replacing Solskjaer, if United do opt to pull the trigger.

Amongst them is Ajax boss Erik ten Hag. Although the Dutchman has not been contacted by United or signalled his interest in the job, a growing number of United supporters believe he is the right man to take the club forward.

Should that prove to be the case, MEN Sport has picked out four players the 51-year-old could look to add to United’s squad, if he was to succeed Solskjaer.

Ryan Gravenberch Considering Ten Hag has turned Ajax into a seasoned Champions League outfit in recent years, you could probably guarantee that the Dutchman would look to launch a raid on the Eredivisie giants if he ever got the United job.

Among those that he may wish to try and poach first could be highly-rated 19-year-old midfielder Gravenberch.

The youngster, who has already earned nine caps for the Netherlands at senior level, is one of the most highly-rated players in Europe and his stock continues to rise. Capable of sitting deep or playing in a box-to-box role in midfield, Gravenberch could prove to be the answer to United’s midfield woes.

Ajax coach Erik ten Hag oversees a training session (Image: 2021 ANP Sport) Antony Another promising Ajax youngster that Ten Hag may wish to convince to follow him to Old Trafford could be winger Antony.

The lively Brazilian, who joined the Dutch outfit in February 2020 from Sao Paulo, has been a revelation in all competitions in recent months, scoring four goals and bagging five assists in 13 games this season, with all five of the assists coming in the Champions League.

A right-winger may not be United’s top priority after signing Jadon Sancho in the summer, but Antony’s potential is not be passed up on, with other European clubs likely to swoop.

Matthijs de Ligt Dutch centre-back De Ligt may no longer be an Ajax player, but he is no stranger to Ten Hag from the time they spent together in Amsterdam.

Now at Italian giants Juventus, the 22-year-old was a roaring success during his time at the Johan Cruyff Arena, playing a key role in helping the club reach the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2019.

Although he only joined Juventus just over two years ago, there have been frequent reports in recent months that the centre-back could leave the club, with it claimed that his agent Mino Raiola had been ‘threatening’ to take him away from the Serie A side.

If he was to become available, you can guarantee that Ten Hag would like to work with him again, especially given De Ligt’s age and potential.

Erling Haaland Ten Hag may never have worked with Haaland before, but there is no manager in the world that would not want to sign the Borussia Dortmund sensation.

The Norway international is already a top target for United and Ten Hag would, without doubt, love to add him to his attacking ranks. The striker has a £68million release clause in his contract, which is poised to come into effect next summer, meaning a huge transfer battle is likely to ensure.

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