Manchester United takeover: Erik ten Hag drops new transfer hint amid ongoing uncertainty

Forward planning: Erik ten Hag is already plotting his summer transfer moves at Manchester United  (REUTERS)
Forward planning: Erik ten Hag is already plotting his summer transfer moves at Manchester United (REUTERS)

Erik ten Hag insists he is already planning his squad for next season “with high standards” amid the ongoing takeover uncertainty at Manchester United.

No preferred bidder has yet been announced for the Old Trafford giants, with final offers having been officially tabled last month.

Reports over recent days have suggested that British billionaire businessman Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Ineos are confident of winning the takeover race, though it remains to be seen if an improved bid will yet arrive from rival Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar.

United fans have protested against current owners the Glazer family in recent weeks, wanting to ensure that they commit to a full sale of the club after 18 divisive years at the helm rather than only offload some shares to new investors and retain ultimate control.

Ten Hag does not appear concerned by the impact of the takeover uncertainty on his transfer plans for the summer, with the Carabao Cup winners and FA Cup finalists remaining on course for a return to the Champions League next term after a vital 2-0 win over Wolves on Saturday that gave them crucial breathing space over arch-rivals Liverpool in the fierce battle for a top-four finish.

“It’s not up to me, it is an aspect of the club that other people deal with, the owners,” Ten Hag said after goals in each half from Anthony Martial and fit-again substitute Alejandro Garnacho secured a return to winning ways at Old Trafford despite the absence of injured striker Marcus Rashford.

“I have to develop and to progress the team, and to of course plan. I will go for high standards, so I am planning my squad for next season in the background, with high standards. Then it is up to the others to decide if the finances are there.

“I think you have to see the wider perspective. We had many clean sheets, I think the most in the league. But then we also had some bad defeats, and we are not scoring that easily. Today another [opposition] goalkeeper [Wolves debutant Daniel Bentley] is Man of the Match, we do that often, we are very good at that.

“In this moment there is no time for happiness or satisfaction - we have to work and to improve. Get the team ready but improve. That is what I demand from my players, my staff and myself.”