Six key Man United issues Erik ten Hag needs to address on first day of pre-season

It only feels like five minutes ago that Erik ten Hag was parading the FA Cup to the Manchester United end of Wembley Stadium yet here we are at the cusp of pre-season.

After securing his second trophy in as many seasons, nobody was 100 per cent sure if we would see Ten Hag at Carrington on Monday, July 8 but after three weeks of dither and delay, Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Ineosfinally agreed he was the right man to continue. The Dutchman’s contract has since been extended until 2026 and the United boardroom now feel ready to back him.

However, as we gear up for another pre-season with fresh optimism, there are six underlying issues which Ten Hag needs to address on day one to avoid them derailing United. MEN Sport has taken a look at what needs sorting as a matter of urgency.

 

Mason Greenwood

Similarly to Sancho, Greenwood needs to be sold sharpish. Reports in the Daily Mirror suggest the winger has put a deadline of the next week for his

future to be decided.

Rasmus Hojlund support

The problem here doesn’t lie with having Hojlund as the main striker next season. The Dane showed plenty of promise last year and was not helped by the lack of chances created for him during matches.

Instead, Ten Hag needs to secure some competition for the striker in the transfer window. Joshua Zirkzee looks like the obvious addition to the team at this stage however he will be at the Euros until at least Wednesday which is only going to delay finding a solution to this issue.

Centre-back woes

United’s central defensive options are looking particularly thin on the ground as the players head back to pre-season. Lisandro Martinez will obviously start but his return is delayed due to Copa America.

Beyond that, who will partner him. At the moment, it looks likely to be Harry Maguire or Victor Lindelof albeit the latter is expected to be sold.

Coaching staff decision

Benni McCarthy is not expected to be at Carrington this coming season but a replacement has not been decided. Burnley have announced Scott Parker as their new manager which frees up Ruud van Nistelrooy to move to Old Trafford.

He would be a welcome addition but there is also the move for Go Ahead Eagles manager Rene Hake which needs resolving. If he is brought in, the futures of Mitchell van der Gaag and Steve McClaren will also need deciding.

It is not out of the question they all stay but when Ineos have been keen to cut costs, it seems unlikely they would flood the backroom team.

United received two bids from Marseille and Lazio last week for Greenwood and Ten Hag will hope he can get that transfer sorted as smoothly as possible to put the situation behind him and the club.

Bruno Fernandes

One player who will most likely not be at Carrington on Monday is the captain Fernandes. He was knocked out of Euro 2024 on Friday and will now be on a well deserved break before he turns his attention back to domestic football.

At the front of his mind is his future and with the Saudi Pro League sniffing around, United need to be positive if they want to keep the attacking midfielder. Fernandes remains the Reds’ best creative player so it seems obvious to offer him a new deal to deter any interest from the Middle Eas

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