Erik ten Hag does not expect any January transfers for Manchester United

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Manchester United are unlikely to make any signings in the January transfer market according to manager Erik ten Hag.

Asked by the United We Stand fanzine if the club will be bringing in any new players next month, he said: “I don’t think so — and if so, the approach from United should be that if you can improve your team, then you should do. What we expect from every player coming to Carrington every day is for them to give their maximum, to give their best.

“As a club, you have to look for improvements, so if you can find better and it’s realistic financially and with financial fair play, I think the club has to go with it. But realistically, in relation to the market, most of the time you don’t attract the best players in the winter. The top, top players will not leave their clubs in the winter. It’s players who are disappointed, injured or just not the right fit or whatever.”

Asked how many players he feels he’s short of to have a team that could win the league, Ten Hag replied: “We have to develop and progress this team. In reality, we go to the next summer window and there will be new players coming in.”

United, seventh in the Premier League, have seen their season hit by poor form in all competitions, a severe injury list and off-field issues including uncertainty around the future of the club’s structure and ownership.

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Ten Hag maintains the latter saga — a strategic review which began more than a year ago and has still not reached its conclusion — has had a limited effect on him and his staff.

“It’s just in the background,” he explained. “We’re appointed here to perform every day. There are others in the club who have to think about strategy and, as manager, I have to give my advice to the club from a tactical point of view. I have to say what’s important and what I need to perform but, strategic-wise, others at the club have to deal with it. Of course, it’s important, but my job is to control that it does not affect the team or the staff.”

Questioned about his transfer record, Ten Hag rejected the assertion that he only signs players who have played in the Dutch Eredivisie. Four of his signings last season played in the Netherlands, plus one of his four loan signings. This season, two of his five recruits have played there, and one of his two loans.

“It’s a perception,” he says. “It’s used to make a point. Has Casemiro played Eredivisie? (Christian) Eriksen played in Eredivisie 10 years ago, then for Spurs and Inter Milan. I’ve even seen Mason Mount aligned to the Eredivisie. He was there as a young player to develop. For me, Mount was one of the most attractive young players in the Premier League going out of contract with one year left. It was a great opportunity for us to sign a very good 24-year-old player. That was nothing to do with the Eredivisie.

“And, if you sign players from Ajax, just look at their history. They have delivered many, many players to the top clubs in the world. It’s a long list.”

And the former Ajax boss is insistent he is the right man to help get United back to greatness, despite a season so far which has featured 10 defeats in 21 games in all competitions. As well as being off the pace in the Premier League, United are bottom of their Champions League group and face the prospect of early elimination.

“We are building, and I see through the cloud and see a bright future here,” he explained. “I see positive things at Carrington. You might not see them so clearly, but I do.”

(Top photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images)

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