Teden Mengi could be a big winner from Erik ten Hag's Manchester United appointment

Manchester United are reported to be looking at 20-year-old centre-back Jurrien Timber to strengthen the club’s under-performing defence, with The Mirror reporting interest in the defender.

Landing the Dutch international would be a big coup, but it is also worth considering that Manchester United’s 20-year-old centre-back, Teden Mengi could be a big winner under Erik ten Hag too.

Mengi has made two first team appearances for Manchester United in European competitions. He has had two spells out on loan in the Championship too.

United have shown faith in Mengi by handing him two challenging loans at such a young age, he has racked up 19 appearances for Derby County and Birmingham City combined.

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Mengi could be a big winner

Mengi is in a good position at present. He has valuable first team experience, for United and on loan, and has trained frequently with the Red Devils first team.

Former boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer compared him to Ten Hag’s former Ajax star Matthijs de Ligt. Speaking to BBC Sport, he said: “Teden has definitely impressed me. You have got to make sure he’s ready for it. Ajax made Matthijs De Ligt captain when he was 18. Teden Mengi has something special in him.”

De Ligt signed for Juventus, where he is set to renew his contract, Fabrizio Romano reports, ending any speculation Erik ten Hag could try and bring him to Manchester United.

Ten Hag may not mind, especially if he signs Timber. But he also has Mengi to work with, and his track record of developing centre-backs is proven.

Timber just won Ajax’s Talent of the Year Award, while De Ligt played so well under him that he earned a £67.5 million move to Juventus.

Mengi is the type of young talent Ten Hag would love to work with, and has the leadership qualities, having captained United’s youth sides.

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He is quick, strong in the air, and reads the game well, all traits you would want in a top centre-back. Ten Hag may like his chances of bringing the best out of him.

His performance for United against Young Boys impressed supporters, and United dropping into the Europa League could enhance his prospects of game time next season.

United’s defence needs to get younger, with Victor Lindelof the youngest centre-back in the first team at present, currently 27.

Whether Timber signs or not, Mengi is in position to also make a run. With a contract to 2024 with an option to extend to 2025, the young centre-back could be a big winner from Ten Hag’s arrival, with the manager proving his commitment to youth by handing 23 debuts to academy players during his spell at Ajax.

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