Steady progress under Erik ten Hag amidst uncertainity over club ownership

Erik ten Hag clearly over achieved in his first season as manager of Manchester United by finishing third, winning a trophy, reaching finals of the FA Cup and an extended run in Europa League filled the club’s coffers. United were also helped by the self-implosion of rivals Liverpool and Chelsea last season, who in turn have spent big in the summer. While City were imperious, Arsenal have spent big on Rice, Timber, Havertz, Raya. Competition just got even difficult this season. New rule proposed by FA to consider exact time of ball being in play to calculate stoppage time will mean more lengthier ending to both halves thus sapping up energy of players further, ultimately resulting them in playing 3-5 more matches per season.

Erik ten Hag got his man in Andre Onana to replace United's player of last decade David de Gea. Onana will be able to start attacks, come forward lot more to be like sweeper keeper and this risk taking will inevitably result in few errors leading to cede advantage. ten Hag has changed a very reliable goalkeeper after just one season like Guardiola did at City with Joe Hart. Like Guardiola, for ten Hag also this would be the hardest decision he has had to take. Beware Claudio Bravo the replacement of Joe Hart cost City the title! Onana will need time to settle in to pacey Premier League but he has already worked Erik ten Hag at Ajax will mean he knows what the gaffer wants. Already in pre-season he conceded a goal when opposition team chipped the ball over him to score. Schmeichel, van der Saar and de Gea have been three outstanding keepers for the club in last 30 years and will take enormous effort to try to match their accomplishments.

United stuck to their guns in negotiations with Chelsea for Mason Mount and finally got their man on 4th bid. Mount will eventually replace Eriksen who seemed off-pace after his return from injury last season. Also, there is more goals in Mount which will reduce the burden on strikers. His movement alongside right inside channel will mean new avenue of attack, leading to creation of more chances. This is an excellent acquisition by United. To top it Erik ten Hag decided to hand him the iconic #7 jersey, hoping this does not weigh him down. United do need to have a backup for Casemiro as they have looked most vulnerable in his absence. Sofiyan Amrabat is being mentioned as a possible addition, will be a good boost.

United did not pursue Harry Kane due to difficulties in negotiations with Spurs and this transfer could have protracted all summer thus disrupting the focus. Instead signed a potential in Rasmus Hojlund who just turned 20 this February for a significant investment. This is a welcome change from signing older forwards from Falcao to Weghorst. Last such signing was Anthony Martial and Hojlund will not end up like him due the coach that Erik ten Hag is. Hojlund has more physical presence, runs in the channels, holds the ball better than Martial. These attributes bode well for him, thus the expectation for him in initial years at United has to be lower.

Bruno Fernandes has officially become the new club captain and Marcus Rashford signed a new deal to extend his association with club he joined as a kid. United have done well to agree sale of Telles(€4m), Elanga(€15m), Kovar(€9m), Fred(€15m), Iqbal(€1m), undisclosed fee from Savage, Bishop, earning from transfer of Chong(€1m) to Luton Town. Approximately €45m with futures of few players yet to be decided like Maguire, van de Beek, Henderson, McTominay, Martial etc is indeed good business. Would have liked Kovar to be number two keeper with Heaton but United have got first right on his next move and proceeds from sale to any other club. 'McFred' era is finally over. Credit to Fred to have always put in 100% effort.

Following the strategic review of the club by Glazers last November to initiate a potential sale, and conclusion of few rounds of bidding no definitive response has come forth from Glazers. MUST and 1958 group both have planned protests for the season opener against Wolves. MUST statement reads "The Club feels like it is being held hostage by the Glazer family". Despite this uncertainty of takeover, backlash over Greenwood future, FFP rules that limit spending, United have done two other positive things: Agreeing a long term £900million deal to extend the partnership with Adidas two years in advance which might help to infuse some more funds for this summer’s transfer if contract duration can be prolonged, and created a players lounge area to give instructions to players before matches after similar requests from van Gaal and Mourinho were declined earlier. Club under Richard Arnold, John Murtough and Erik ten Hag have been working within the system to gain maximum for the club which fans can relate to with appreciation. Having got a good foundation last season here is hoping United to close the gap with City and Arsenal even further.

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