After Manchester United began their English Premier League season with a whimper, there was hope that decision makers would get the message regarding transfer aspirations – but that doesn’t seem to be happening.
The most-recent example of this was a rumoured move for Austrian international Marko Arnautovic, which was kyboshed by higher ups, reportedly after fan disapproval.
Arnautovic was not a move that represented any sort of greatest ambition; he’s 33, playing for a mid-tier Serie A club, and even at his peak was never seriously targeted by the top teams.
Some compared the signing to that of Odion Ighalo, who was brought in from the ignominy of the Chinese League on loan from Shanghai Shenhua for no great purpose, while others didn’t want Arnautovic due to a racist incident in last summer’s European Championships, where he was banned for a game after being accused of using an anti-Albanian slur during a game against North Macedonia.
Whatever the reason, fans aren’t happy – just search the word ‘ambition’ on Twitter alongside that of the club, and you’ll see an avalanche of angry people.
Aside from inking Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen on a free transfer and a couple of raids into the Dutch Eredivisie for Ajax’s Lisandro Martinez and Feyenoord’s Tyrell Malacia, Erik ten Hag’s squad remains largely the same as last season.
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The soap opera surrounding superstar Cristiano Ronaldo goes on – and while he wants Champions League football, those at the top table don’t seem to be keen on the 37-year-old, who was United’s top scorer last year, and not someone they’ve replaced.
Ten Hag has long coveted a reunion with his former Ajax standout Frenkie de Jong, who is reportedly keen for the move, but remains embroiled in a pay dispute with current club Barcelona.
“I’m happy with the signings until now,” Ten Hag told reporters before his team’s loss to Brighton.
“We don’t just need any player, you need the right players and that’s the point we’re working on together.”
Whether a rumoured move for Cody Gakpo or Antony, another two Eredivisie standouts, comes off, or they do get de Jong over the line, one thing is certain; they can’t afford to tread water as those around them continue to rise.
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