The remaining days of the transfer window have the potential to be absolute chaos.
There will be a lot of money thrown around, a lot of silly moves, and the potential for some jaw-dropping ones with so many teams desperately scrambling to sort their teams out before the deadline on September 1.
All of this is just at Manchester United! Erik ten Hag’s disastrous start to his reign has served as a much-needed wake-up call to the club that serious additions are required before it’s too late.
After agreeing a fee with Real Madrid for the transfer of the excellent defensive-midfielder Casemiro, the club has made a good start in this regard.
His impending arrival effectively ends United’s lengthy Frenkie de Jong pursuit, which may come as a disappointment to Ten Hag, but he now has the destroyer United require far more than a controlling midfielder.
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In an ideal world, United would keep an eye on De Jong and try to bring him in if the standoff with Barcelona is ever resolved, because what a midfield that would be.
But that’s a bit fanciful, especially since United still needs to strengthen several other areas.
It may be too late for anyone to replace David de Gea, despite his obvious unsuitability for Ten Hag’s preferred style of play, so his place in the starting XI appears to be secure for the time being.
However, a competitive backup who can push the Spaniard must be brought in.
A new right-back also helps. Ten-Hag’s feelings for Aaron Wan-Bissaka are clear, and he may be out the door before the window closes, but Diogo Dalot has yet to prove himself as a capable replacement.
The only right-back United has been linked with in recent days is Barcelona’s Sergino Dest, a player the manager knows well from his time at Ajax.
The American fits Ten Hag’s description of an attacking full-back, has plenty of room to grow and improve at the age of 21, and doesn’t appear to be too expensive with Barcelona trying to get rid of as many players as possible.
There are still some doubts about Dest’s defensive abilities, but he appears to be an upgrade going forward.
Ten Hag may still want to add another technical midfielder to his squad after a deal for Adrien Rabiot fell through, but the signing of Casemiro has already resulted in a significant improvement.
With the Brazilian as the anchor in a midfield three, any two of Bruno Fernandes, Christian Eriksen, or Fred should be able to be more creative further forward.
Ten Hag identified Ajax star Antony as the ideal attacking target early on, an exciting, decisive forward capable of playing anywhere across the attack, but Ajax’s lofty price tag appeared to have stymied any move.
Nonetheless, with United’s desperate need for attacking reinforcements highlighted, it appears that they have rekindled their interest.
According to reports, United had an 80 million euro bid for the Brazilian turned down on Thursday, and when asked about his future, Antony did not commit to Ajax. “No, to be perfectly honest, I can’t,” he replied when asked by De Telegraaf if he could assure fans he’d be staying.
“What I can say is that I want to come to the right decision with my family, business partners and Ajax, which is good for everyone.”
Antony may be expensive – money that could be better spent on other positions or held back in case De Jong becomes available – but it’s clear that Ten Hag is desperate for him to join him at Old Trafford.
He would most likely play on the right wing, forcing Jadon Sancho to switch sides, with Anthony Martial or Cristiano Ronaldo leading the line.