Manchester United’s manager Erik Ten Hag is now looking for a ‘versatile’ forward after Darwin Nunez turned down the Red Devils and signed for Liverpool. The Uruguayan striker joined the Merseyside club earlier this month in a whopping £64 million deal which could even rise to a club-record £85 million.
Ten Hag and United pursued the Benfica striker for a long time but backed out when it became clear that Anfield was his preferred destination. The Red Devils were also hesitant to spend more than half of their budget on the striker.
United are looking for a talisman as they have lacked in scoring goals in the previous seasons. The 22-year-old center-forward would have been a long-term substitute for the aging Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford. Sky Sports reported that Liverpool’s Champions League qualification was the integral factor for Nunez to prefer the Merseyside club.
Since it is difficult to find quality replacements in the transfer market, ESPN has reported that Ten Hag has modified his ideas and is now looking for a more ‘versatile’ forward. Ajax winger Antony dos Santos, whom Ten Hag coached during his tenure in Amsterdam, is high on United’s wish list.
The Brazilian has scored 8 goals and provided 4 assists in 23 appearances for Ajax in the 2021-22 season and has proved to be too hot to handle for the Eredivisie defenders. He has also played as a false striker during the tenure of Ten Hag at Ajax. The Dutch champions have set a massive price tag of £68 million for the dynamic winger. Similar to the case with Nunez, the Old Trafford side is not willing to spend so much money on the forward.
One of the major reasons why United is not splurging cash out on the signings is because they want to acquire the services of Barcelona’s talented midfielder Frenkie de Jong. Reports suggest that the Dutch international is inching closer to a move to Old Trafford.
As United will be returning to pre-season training on Monday, the clock is ticking for the club to bring in players ahead of the new season. Ten Hag will be expected to turn the fortunes around for the Red Devils and secure at least a top-four spot in the Barclays Premier League.