‘The best situation is when you start pre-season fully equipped’: Erik ten Hag reveals frustration over Man United’s protracted transfer business… with Frenkie de Jong no closer to signing despite ‘broad agreement in place’ on £72m deal
- Manchester United are still no closer to landing Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona
- Erik ten Hag admits he had hoped United would be finished business by now
- Lisandro Martinez is the latest new recruit, joining from Ten Hag’s old club Ajax
Erik ten Hag has revealed his frustration at waiting on the pieces of his Manchester United jigsaw to fall into place.
The Dutchman had to be in patient in waiting for his first signing through the door since taking charge at Old Trafford this summer, with Feyenoord left-back Tyrell Malacia arriving earlier this month.
Since then, Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez have arrived, but neither have been included in United’s squad for their pre-season tour Down Under.
Erik ten Hag has admitted his frustration at Manchester United’s protracted transfer business
And there is still work to be done on United’s squad, with the club pushing hard to complete a deal for Frenkie de Jong.
However, despite a broad agreement being in place for the midfielder – and Barcelona keen to push the Dutch star out the door in a bid to recuperate some of their outlay this summer – a deal is proving hard to complete.
Asked about his squad still being assembled with pre-season in full swing, the 52-year-old conceded it was not the preparation he envisaged for his side.
‘The best and the most perfect situation is when you start pre-season with the squad fully equipped, but most of the time that’s not the fact of football,’ he told Sky Sports News.
‘So I am realistic and I have to deal with the fact.’
United have an agreement with Barcelona for Frenkie de Jong but a deal is proving tricky
Instead, the lack of new faces has given Ten Hag the opportunity to concentrate his focus on those already with United.
The likes of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have appeared rejuvenated in pre-season, with both having suffered dips in their United form last season.
And Ten Hag insisted that he is happy with the way his players have responded to his new methods to date.
‘Every new season is a new start,’ he said. ‘Of course there is a past, but we don’t have to look back at the past, we have to look into the future.
Lisandro Martinez was United’s third summer signing, the versatile defender arriving from Ajax
‘Those players have high potential, and when we construct a team, and they take the responsibility for their fitness, I am sure they will perform, and we will get the right results.
‘I think it’s always a matter of developing. That’s with experienced players and with younger players. I am a coach, I am not afraid, if players are good enough and are old enough, I will play them.
‘We set a high standard, and values, and the team respond to it. We are happy with that.’