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Erik ten Hag 'to be stripped of Manchester United transfer control' - if he isn't sacked

  /  autty

Erik ten Hag is expected to have much less of a say on Manchester United's transfer business - even if he keeps his job as manager.

Since his arrival from Ajax in June 2022, Ten Hag has had a significant influence on the Red Devils' recruitment; particularly signing players who he's either worked with previously or has seen play in the Dutch Eredivisie. After a promising first campaign, the United boss has been slammed for his transfer record and has been given no assurances over his future ahead of the all-important run-in.

Ten Hag's influence is now set to be weakened by changes made to the club's football department by recently arrived co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his INEOS colleagues. A new CEO in Omar Berrada has already been appointed, while United remain in talks with Newcastle over compensation for technical director Dan Ashworth, who's been put on gardening leave.

On Monday, it emerged that the Red Devils had made a formal approach to snap up Southampton director of football Jason Wilcox, who's renowned for both spotting and developing talent. With those new figureheads in place, the Mail report that Ten Hag would subsequently not have as big of a say when it comes to transfers.

Working alongside current football director John Murtough, another member of the hierarchy whose role is likely to be affected by Ratcliffe and co's changes, Ten Hag has signed 16 players across four transfer windows. The majority of those have played in the Netherlands, while Antony, Lisandro Martinez, Andre Onana and Sofyan Amrabat were all coached by Ten Hag at their former clubs.

Despite Ratcliffe's refusal to publicly back Ten Hag, the Dutch boss insists that he and INEOS' visions are aligned. In January, Ten Hag defended his record on transfers, arguing: "I know everything is highlighted more at the moment, because the performances aren't there. But don't forget, last season everyone was saying how the signings for Manchester United were very good because, as a team, we performed.

"Everyone was saying how great Martinez was doing, everyone was telling me [Christian] Eriksen was a top signing. Tyrell Malacia? Very smart. Then we had Antony, who was doing okay. Casemiro? Brilliant, everyone was saying last season. So we must judge them in the moment.

"I think all the signings are top players. What we have to do now is find a way to perform as a team and then we will judge them very differently. We have to understand and acknowledge we have to do it together. We have to be on the same page, in the same boat.

"We have to perform together, because all of those players are very good signings. But playing for United is so different to playing for any other club. It's so much more difficult to play and perform for United, than at another club. So you need a very strong character to perform, to deal with the high expectations.

"And, of course, when the price is high, the expectations will rise even more. But - and I have said this previously - this is the best club you can want to play for. This is the best challenge you want and I would go for that challenge if I was a player and had a choice to make."