Manchester United’s ownership saga is nearing its conclusion and Erik ten Hag will be eager to start working ahead of next season.
Sheikh Jassim and Sir Jim Ratcliffe have been in a bidding war for four months, however, the latest developments seem to have placed the Qatari’s in the driving seat – with the bid from INEOS said to be “dead in the water”.
Manchester United will be fortunate to see the back of the Glazer family should a takeover finally occur. The Americans have been in charge at Old Trafford since 2005, with protests against them being a regular feature since then.
However, whilst Ten Hag will be focused on what he can influence on the pitch, he’s already suggested that new owners must bring two things to the club to help them bridge the gap with Manchester City.
Firstly, the Dutchman has previously explained that whatever investment the club receives from new owners must be spent carefully.
United are a powerhouse that can spend significant amounts of money in the transfer market despite the Glazers draining the club over the last two decades. Yet, their greatest mistakes came through poor recruitment.
This is something that Sheikh Jassim or Sir Jim Ratcliffe would need to consider if they take over the club, as we’ve seen what Chelsea’s scattergun approach in Todd Boehly’s first year in charge at Stamford Bridge can do.
“Oh, absolutely,” agreed Ten Hag in May when asked whether it’s difficult to get things right after a takeover. “At this moment, the Premier League is the centralisation of good players and of the best managers. Also [it’s about] the money. It’s all here in the UK.
“That makes a great competition but a tough and a hard competition and you have to do the right things. You can have money, but you have to spend it in a smart way and also you need the right strategy behind it, because otherwise, money doesn’t work.”
In relation to that point, the second aspect that Ten Hag hopes new ownership gets right is the amount of power with respect to transfers that the manager is given.
The former Ajax manager has targeted several players from the Eredivisie since joining United; purchasing both Antony and Lisandro Martinez from his former club. And whilst familiarity is not always a bad thing, especially when just coming into a new club, United should be expected to have a general transfer policy and strategy when recruiting players.
And whilst Ten Hag has been criticised by some fans for his targets, he has recently stated the importance of a director of football at the top level.
“I don’t know if that is true,” Ten Hag replied when it was suggested to him the most important person at a club should be the manager, just like Pep Guardiola at City,.
“Don’t underestimate the role of [Txiki] Begiristain,” he added, speaking about the man who has been the director of football at United’s rivals since 2012.
John Murtough currently fills the role at Old Trafford, but new ownership could see roles adjusting even though Murtough was only appointed in the position in 2021.
Whether or not he remains in place, or new owners bring in an external director of football, it’s clear that Ten Hag believes that they should have a key role alongside the manager within Old Trafford and that their responsibilities should be high, like at United’s city rivals.
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