Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag questioned over two ‘unimaginative’ transfer targets

Erik ten Hag's Man Utd in-tray

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Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has been questioned over his reported interest in two Ajax players. Ten Hag is claimed to be keen on bringing Jurrien Timber and Lisandro Martinez with him to Old Trafford but European football expert Gabriele Marcotti has labelled the targets as “unimaginative”.

The Dutchman has arrived in England ahead of starting his position as United boss. He will be at Selhurst Park on Sunday to watch the club’s final game of the season against Crystal Palace.

Transfer plans are already beginning to take shape ahead of the summer window. Defender Timber came through the academy at Ajax and has become a regular in the first team in the last two seasons.

Meanwhile, Ten Hag signed Argentina international Martinez, who can play in defence and midfield, from Defensa y Justicia in 2019. Marcotti is more convinced over the signing of Timber, claiming he is a “phenomenal player”.

But he has questioned whether United will look broader across the market than just Ten Hag’s former club. Speaking on the Gab & Juls podcast, Marcotti said: “Smart choices in the sense that they need a centre-back and they need a holding midfielder, with Matic going. Kind of totally unimaginative choices.

“I kind of wonder to what degree this is coming from the media like ‘what Ajax players are good?’. Next they’d link [Ryan] Gravenberch, I’d assume. [Noussair] Mazraoui is already on his way [to Bayern Munich].

“It makes sense [to sign players you know] and I think of these two, personally I’m not sure Lisandro Martinez is some massive upgrade or is a massive upgrade. Timber a little bit different, Timber looks like a very, very good player.

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“I just always get a bit of the heebie-jeebies when a manager moves and he signs the players he had before. If we are to believe what United have briefed so far, that it’s a comprehensive look around Europe, we’ll take our time, we’re not just going to sign the former Ajax guys, then it’s a different story.

“Otherwise Timber, Lisandro Martinez, get Frenkie de Jong from Ajax, who can pay for [Robert] Lewandowski. I don’t know. But Timber, phenomenal player, from what we’ve seen so far.”

Marcotti’s podcast co-host Julien Laurens believes signing players Ten Hag knows is a good move. He said: “It makes sense for Ten Hag to go and get players he knows really well and know the way he plays too.”

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