Erik ten Hag’s first Ajax transfer periods prove he is perfect for Manchester United

Fans and pundits are roundly calling on Erik ten Hag to produce an overhaul of the Manchester United roster when he takes over as manager this summer.

The 52-year-old has built up a good reputation for finding talent during his time as Ajax boss. Antony, Quincy Promes and Sebastian Haller were all successful examples.

Ten Hag made his mark as manager of the Dutch giants during his first transfer periods. After the acquisition in December 2017, he brought in as many as 11 players over the next 12 months.

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Among them were Nicolas Tagliafico, Dusan Tadic and Daley Blind. All three are still regulars and none cost more than £15 million.

The situation may be somewhat different at a globally renowned club like United, where clubs aim to squeeze as much money out of them as possible when negotiating takeovers. Acquisitions will be more expensive, which is why he can also look at free options, such as United’s youth academy.

Ten Hag is known for his preference for young players, after he led Donny van de Beek, Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong to the semi-finals of the Champions League of 2019, among others. This will enthuse players like Alejandro Garnacho, Hannibal Mejbri and James Garner, who has had a great season on loan from Nottingham Forest.

Ten Hag promoted Noussair Mazrauoi to Ajax’s first team during his first transfer period and he has become a fixture in his set-up. Its youth-driven philosophy ties in nicely with United’s astonishing lineup of academy graduates over many decades.

But his big-money purchases have also stood the test of time. United has had a problem in recent years that the marquee arrivals have not lived up to expectations.

Alexis Sanchez, Angel Di Maria and Romelu Lukaku are names that would put the most United fans in that category. They are desperate for a quick turnaround that will at least make their club serious challengers again.

And the first few transfer windows of ten Hag at Ajax prove that he is capable of such a task. He has never let the Dutch title slip since he first won it during the 2018-19 season, with Tagliafico, Tadic and Blind all being crucial to the club’s recent successes.

In addition, six of the eleven he signed in his first year are still with the club. Longevity and stability is what United fans crave and Ten Hag may just be the man who can make it happen.

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