Erik ten Hag has spent heavily in his first two transfer windows as Manchester United manager, and he’ll have to oversee another splurge in his third if he wants his reported priority targets. Sir Jim Ratcliffe could be ready to facilitate another busy business period as he prepares to make a splash at Old Trafford.
Ten Hag has parted ways with north of £400million on 10 permanent signings and a host of loans since arriving at United in 2022.
Yet, while some recruits have been less convincing than others, his troublesome second season at the wheel has emphasised the amount of investment and correct decisions still required in his rebuild.
Ratcliffe and INEOS are expected to have inherited total control of United’s football operations from the Glazer family by the time the summer rolls around.
And the 71-year-old will be keen to make a statement during his first transfer window in charge. Not just in terms of big-money signings but the right ones, too.
Ten Hag reportedly wants a new centre-back and midfielder, among other positions, to continue moulding his squad to his liking.
Two of his alleged priority options play for Everton – Jarrad Branthwaite and Amadou Onana.
According to TEAMtalk, United have listed Branthwaite, 21, as their top centre-back target in the Premier League.
Ten Hag could need a long-term replacement for Raphael Varane, set to leave on a free transfer, but he is also said to want left-sided competition for Lisandro Martinez.
Meanwhile, the Mail claim that Onana was among United’s leading midfield targets in the summer.
However, the Red Devils were cash-strapped by the end of the transfer window and could only afford an £8.5m season-long loan swoop for Sofyan Amrabat.
The 22-year-old is reportedly still on Ten Hag’s radar, though, and could be the subject of an intensified pursuit this summer.
According to i, Everton have slapped a £60m price tag on Onana amid interest from United, Arsenal and Chelsea. It is almost double the fee they paid Lille in 2022.
The Toffees are also claimed to value Branthwaite at an eye-watering £100m, likely with the view of fending off the rising interest in his signature.
While United are expected to spend at the end of the season, it’s improbable £160m will go towards two players from the same Premier League club.
They are two positions Ten Hag is likely to address, though, and Ratcliffe will offer financial backing with the club’s Financial Fair Play restrictions.