Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag targeting five signings in transfer window

New Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is targeting at least five signings before the transfer window closes.

Tea Manchester Evening News understands United are making progress in discussions over a fee for Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, with the Catalan club insisting that De Jong be sold despite his preference to stay.

Ten Hag earmarked Jurrien Timber as his prime defensive target and wants to sign Timber’s Ajax teammate, Antony, as well as Christian Eriksen, out of contract at Brentford next week.

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Ten Hag sounded out De Jong, 25, last month about the prospect of reuniting at United, having developed the Netherlands international for 18 months at Ajax.

Barcelona are holding out for a fee potentially rising to £85million and United are adamant they won’t be held to ransom to ease Barca’s financial problems.

United worked on a deal for Kalvin Phillips prior to Ten Hag’s official appointment but Leeds United’s survival and Manchester City’s interest have reduced their chances of securing a deal.

Ten Hag and United football director John Murtough have shortlisted Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres and Braga defender David Carmo among the alternatives should Timber choose to stay at Ajax or move elsewhere.

Timber, 21, has indicated he would be comfortable remaining at Ajax and the Dutch champions have already sold Ryan Gravenberch, wanted by Ten Hag at United, to Bayern Munich and would not be under pressure to sell Timber and Antony.

As of last week, United were hopeful of signing Timber but the uncertainty over his playing time before the World Cup has plunged the move into doubt.



Timber and De Jong in the recent Dutch camp
Timber and De Jong in the recent Dutch camp

Antony, 22, is a left-footed forward who operates from the right-hand side, a problem position at United for the last decade. Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Anthony Elanga have been at their most effective from the left. Ajax are interested in Tottenham winger Steven Bergwijn as a replacement for Antony.

Former Tottenham playmaker Eriksen, 30, trained with Ajax last season as he regained fitness after suffering a cardiac arrest during Denmark’s European Championship group game against Finland last June and flourished for three months at Brentford.

Eriksen rejected United in 2019 and eventually joined Inter Milan in January 2020 when they were managed by Antonio Conte. Conte, now the Tottenham coach, is interested in re-signing Eriksen and Spurs have Champions League football to offer.

Dean Henderson’s expected departure is due to be offset with the addition of a back-up goalkeeper, with Newcastle number two Karl Darlow and Daniel Bachmann of Watford under consideration.

Despite interest from Nottingham Forest, Henderson is understood to have favored a move to Newcastle, who expressed interest in signing him in January. Newcastle mooted a loan swap involving Martin Dubravka in the winter transfer window that collapsed when Dubravka rejected joining United and have now suggested Darlow.

Henderson, 25, was optimistic of clinching a move as early as May but United were reluctant to sanction a transfer without having a replacement lined up as they braced themselves for six departures from the first-team squad.

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