Erik ten Hag’s teams score a lot of goals, but crucially, they do not concede many either. This season Ajax have conceded only 14 in 28 Eredivisie games.

So with all the attacking additions expected, there will be investment in defence too. This focuses largely on landing a holding midfielder and possibly also a centre-back.

Jurrien Timber

Ajax v Benfica - Round Of Sixteen, Second Leg - UEFA Champions League
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The Mirror report Ten Hag wants to sign Ajax centre-back Jurrien Timber. The 20-year-old could become the future of United’s defence.

Timber is already good enough to start regularly for Ajax now, and also has six international caps for the Netherlands.

The defender averages more tackles per game than any Ajax player this season, and has been talked up as a special talent by Marco van Basten.

Konrad Laimer

Hannover 96 v RB Leipzig - DFB Cup: Quarter Final
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RB Leipzig midfielder Konrad Laimer could be the midfield ball winner Manchester United desperately need.

The Austria international has just one year remaining on his contract and was signed by Ralf Rangnick.

BILD report United are keen on the 24-year-old, whose signing would facilitate more expensive moves for attacking players, as well as helping them to succeed on the pitch.

Ruben Neves

Brentford v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League
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Wolves star Ruben Neves can do a bit of everything, and would be an effective replacement for Paul Pogba, with superior defensive traits.

The Sun this week claim Neves is a priority target for Ten Hag, and he has just two years remaining on his contract.

Neves knows international teammates Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Dalot, and linking up with the trio ahead of the World Cup could be an attractive factor.

Kalvin Phillips

Leeds United v Crystal Palace - Premier League
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Deals with Leeds are fraught with difficulty and so this possible move looks tricky to do. The Manchester Evening News nonetheless insist United are advancing with talks.

Phillips is capable of anchoring the midfield and has real quality on the ball. He is the type of player Ten Hag would love to work with.

A move for the England international would be popular with his potential United teammates, although very unpopular with Leeds fans.

Declan Rice

Leicester City v West Ham United - Premier League
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Do United have a spare £150 million handy? This is how much The Mail claim West Ham are demanding for the England midfielder.

This price tag looks certain to shift United to look to other targets, and a move is reliant on Rice sinking his value by trying to force through a move.

Rice is a quality player, but United can also find top quality at far cheaper prices, like the next player on this list.

Aurelien Tchouameni

France v Ivory Coast - International Friendly
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Monaco star Aurelien Tchouameni will cost cheaper than Rice, but his price tag is constantly rising. This was a deal the club should have done last summer.

The France international is ready for a big move, and Marca report both Real Madrid and PSG are showing interest in the defensive midfielder.

The one advantage United may have are connections with Monaco sporting director Paul Mitchell, who was pictured at Old Trafford with Ralf Rangnick last month.

Antonio Rudiger

Chelsea v Newcastle United - Premier League
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A move which could shake up the Premier League would be a swoop for impending free agent Antonio Rudiger.

The German international is the fastest player in the league this season and would give United’s top four a totally different and more aggressive feel.

The deal would also weaken a rival, which happens to make it even more attractive if United can pull off a deal for the Chelsea mainstay.

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