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Erik ten Hag must resist wildcard recall at Manchester United – Richard Fay


Manchester United head into the summer transfer window with a long list of problems to solve, though there is an acceptance that not every one of them will be able to be addressed before it closes.

Ralf Rangnick advised United to sign 10 players before he quit ahead of his planned consultancy role, and although club sources dismissed the extent of his scathing squad evaluation, there is an acceptance that plenty of new faces are needed to rejuvenate the squad.

United are pushing ahead with plans to address their ‘biggest’ issue in midfield with talks ongoing to sign Frenkie de Jong, though sources have reiterated that they will not overpay for the Dutchman and that alternatives are being considered if a move fails to materialise.

READ MORE: United willing to walk away from Frenkie de Jong transfer as alternatives considered

It is refreshing to hear such authority from United in regards to their squad rebuild, but even if they manage to sign De Jong this summer, there can be no denying that they still need extra bodies in midfield.

Signing a defensive midfielder has been labelled the priority for Erik ten Hag’s side this year, and that will still be the case if they manage to get the Barcelona man. Whether they actually do or not is an entirely different question.

The need for midfield reinforcements has been amplified following confirmation that both Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic will leave the club for free at the end of the month, and it hasn’t taken long for those already at the club to be considered as internal solutions.

James Garner could step up following a successful loan spell with Nottingham Forest, though another temporary exit might suit him best, while Donny van de Beek could finally find confidence under the guidance of his former Ajax boss.

Another player being tipped with a chance to prove himself this summer is Andreas Pereira, who could be given a shot at redemption in his final season at the club.

Football director John Murtough has informed Pereira he could be a part of Ten Hag’s plans going forward, though he has not played for United in almost two years and he is contracted to Flamengo until the end of July, unless the deal is terminated early.

The 26-year-old was excelling for Flamengo but his mistake in the Copa Libertadores final defeat to fellow Brazilian side Palmeiras last November has altered the perception of the playmaker among the club’s supporters.

In recent weeks, he has shone brightly in Brazil again, leading to further speculation that he might well be a wildcard selection under Ten Hag, the former assistant of PSV Eindhoven when he was at the club.

It seems certain a few fringe players will be given rejuvenated roles in the new season, but a recall for Pereira at the expense of promising youngsters at the club would certainly not go down well among the fanbase.

Even at best, Pereira would only be occupying a minimal squad role next season as back-up to the starting options in midfield, and if that is the case, it makes much more sense to give that responsibility to someone who might have something more substantial to offer in the long run.



Instead, it would be better to see the likes of Garner, Dylan Levitt, Ethan Galbraith and even Charlie Savage given that opportunity rather than a player who has struggled for consistency at first-team level and who could still be sold for a decent fee this summer.

United even experimented with playing highly-rated teenager Hannibal Mejbri in a deeper midfield role at youth level this season, a position which he could well occupy later on in his career if given the chance.

Time will tell if any of those youngsters actually have what it takes to make it at United, but there will be no way of ever knowing if their pathways to the first team are blocked by peripheral players with few long-term ambitions at the club.

Pereira is one wildcard that Ten Hag should be cautious about playing.





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