Triple swoop would kick start Manchester United revolution under Erik ten Hag
Manchester United sensibly stepped aside from the battle for Darwin Nunez and let Liverpool take the gamble on the Uruguayan striker. For a fee of close to £80 million, the Red Devils had to walk away, with more fundamental issues to resolve.
United’s transfer business is ongoing, steadily making progress with a triple swoop which would strengthen the spine of the team.
And if the club can pull it off, a move for Frenkie de Jong, Jurrien Timber and Antony would leave the Red Devils in a seriously stronger shape than before, laying the foundations for even more moves to come.
Triple swoop would place United on the road to recovery
Let’s not pretend these three players would solve all of Manchester United’s issues, because the truth is, the team would still be a long way off.
A separate defensive midfielder would still be required and could arrive this summer, new full-backs are needed, along with a young striker.
But one step at a time. These three arrivals would address major glaring weaknesses in United’s team.
De Jong would be a culture changer, a midfield player who likes to get on the ball and dictate games, who the team can be built around.
With new manager Erik ten Hag providing direction, De Jong would be able to set the tone for United’s improvement and change the face of how the team approach matches.
Jurrien Timber would add youth into a defence where the youngest centre-back in the team is 27, and his ability to play right-back also temporarily addresses the right-back problem.
He need not worry about game time. With 16 league games before the World Cup, there is a strong chance he is picked in all 16.
Antony would provide the attacking threat and unpredictability Manchester United have long required on the right wing.
Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Elanga all prefer to play on the left, so let them battle it out there, and give the right-wing spot to Antony, with Facundo Pellistri or Amad backing him up.
All of these deals are achievable, and could be done at a considerable but also a reasonable cost. De Jong will end up costing around £65 million up front, Antony around £40 million and Timber £35 million. United can offset a lot of this spending with player sales this summer.
Revamping a team which finished sixth in the Premier League with a goal difference of zero was never going to come cheap. You have to spend to get better, and these three players would provide a solid foundation, strengthening defence, midfield, and attack, with more to follow.
The key to all three of these deals would be Erik ten Hag has managed all three before at Ajax, and knows exactly what he is getting, in terms of personality, talent, and suitability for his system. As investments go, the triple swoop would be shrewd recruitment.