Football Features

Man Utd summer transfer news, odds and predicted Erik ten Hag line-ups

By Squawka News

Man Utd summer transfer news, odds and predicted Erik ten Hag line-ups

Published: 22:46, 18 July 2024 | Updated: 12:28, 20 July 2024

Erik ten Hag is preparing for his third season in charge of Manchester United and after slumping to eighth place last season, the pressure will be on the Dutchman to deliver. 

Yes, Ten Hag guided the Red Devils to a shock FA Cup final win over Manchester City at the end of 2023/24 — his second trophy in two years at Old Trafford — but this is a club that expects nothing less than consistently challenging for the Premier League title.

With that in mind, there’s a big summer ahead. Joshua Zirkzee was United’s first big signing of the window. Talented French defender Leny Yoro soon followed him, while the club fetched a decent fee for Willy Kambwala and got the likes of Raphael Varane and Anthony Martial off their wage bill.

But there’s much more to come. Here, we take a look at the strong rumours and bookmakers’ favourites for who else United might sign this summer, building some possible starting XIs we could see from Ten Hag next season.

Matthijs de Ligt, Jarrad Branthwaite or Marc Guehi

It’s understood that despite bringing Yoro on board, Man Utd fully intend to sign a second centre-back this summer in order to fully bolster and future-proof that position. Matthijs de Ligt and Jarrad Branthwaite have been the names most mentioned over recent months, with Sky Bet pricing the pair at 1/2 and 1/3, respectively, to join the Red Devils. The latter is proving difficult to acquire as Everton refuse to budge from an asking price reported to be in the region of £70m, but De Ligt may still be a realistic target.

Crystal Palace’s Marc Guehi is the latest centre-back to be linked to Old Trafford, with Sky Sports suggesting United might make a move after the 23-year-old built on a strong 2023/24 campaign with a superb showing in England’s run to the Euro 2024 final.

Any of those three would be excellent additions to a centre-back pool that now boasts Yoro, Lisandro Martinez, Harry Maguire and Jonny Evans — United hoping, of course, that the latter can finally settle into that back-up role he was supposed to play last season, given his age.

Manuel Ugarte

“We need to sign an extra striker in the summer,” Ten Hag said at the end of last season, adding: “And if we can sign another central midfielder and a replacement for Varane, things will look good again. If the team remains fit we can try and aim for top four again.”

So, Zirkzee and Yoro tick two of those boxes, with a central midfielder to play between Bruno Fernandes and Kobbie Mainoo now the next position on the list.

The latest reports suggest the Red Devils have already agreed personal terms with PSG’s Uruguay international Manuel Ugarte, with the clubs now trying to agree on a fee with other suitors still circling. The ease at which Ugarte agreed his terms shouldn’t be surprising given he, like Yoro, is a Jorge Mendes player.

Ugarte is a monstrous defensive presence at the base of midfield, with his 98 tackles and 40 interceptions in Ligue 1 last season 46 and 13 clear, respectively, of any other PSG player. With the 23-year-old only joining PSG from Sporting CP last summer for a reported €60m fee and excelling since, it may cost United a pretty penny to get this one done. But given how much Ten Hag’s midfield lacked bite and legs last season, they’ll be pulling out all the stops. 

Ivan Toney

Despite Zirkzee joining Rasmus Hojlund among Ten Hag’s striking options, The Athletic reports that United may still target another No.9 this summer. Their report names Ivan Toney as a possible candidate and it’s thought that, after failing to generate as much interest as they initially expected, Brentford are now willing to slash their asking price.

Toney started well after returning from his eight-month ban last season, scoring four goals in his first five appearances back. However, he dropped off dramatically thereafter, failing to score in any of his next 12 outings, notching just two assists.

Of course, we know Toney is capable of much better, as evidenced by his 20-goal return in 2022/23 and the service he’d get from the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Alejandro Garnacho would surely offer up plenty more chances.

If the price is right, this may well make a lot of sense.

Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin was also mentioned in the same report as a player United have had ‘internal conversations’ about and he’s currently a 12/1 bet to join Man Utd. However, West Ham (4/1) and Newcastle (10/11) are both priced better.

Three ways Man Utd could line up in 2024/25

Dutch delight

We know Ten Hag will likely go for a 4-3-3 formation and in this scenario, he’s secured the signing of De Ligt and starts Zirkzee up front to sprinkle a little Dutch delight over the Old Trafford turf. And you’ll notice Ugarte doing the dirty work to free up Mainoo and Fernandes to go to town on the ball.

This feels like the most likely and strongest possible XI based on the players United are currently targeting or have already signed.

England FC

Jadon Sancho now looks set to stay at Old Trafford after he and Ten Hag kissed and made up. If United sign Toney, that could see them field an all-English front three, while the Red Devils may yet go back to the table for Branthwaite. The above line-up has six English players featured and you could take that even further by swapping out Yoro for Maguire and finding room for Mason Mount in midfield.

Spirit of 99

4-4-2. Two strikers who love crosses. Wingers on their strong foot. Is this Manchester United 1999 style?

Okay, so we’re not saying this side really has a patch on the likes of Beckham, Keane and Scholes. And Ten Hag probably has less chance of playing 4-4-2 than he does of signing Erling Haaland this summer. But it’s still fun to think about.

We haven’t seen 4-4-2 at Old Trafford in some time, but the injury-time goals remain. “Oh what a night!”