Manchester United touch down in Thailand lacking in star appeal as Erik ten Hag era begins


Welcome to reality, Erik! Manchester United touch down in Thailand lacking star appeal with just one signing, Cristiano Ronaldo missing and no progress on a deal for Frenkie de Jong as the new Premier League season closes in for Erik ten Hag

  • Manchester United have jetted out to Thailand to begin their pre-season tour 
  • However, they arrived with just one new signing, Tyrell Malacia, in their squad 
  • Several moves have stalled, although they are close to sealing Christian Eriksen 

Manchester United were given a big welcome in Bangkok even though their touring party lacked the stardust many fans might have expected.

New manager Erik ten Hag and his players landed in Thailand without Cristiano Ronaldo and with only one new signing in £14.6million defender Tyrell Malacia.

United are hopeful that Christian Eriksen could pass a medical in time to join up with the Australia leg of the tour, and have stepped up their pursuit of Lisandro Martinez by tabling an improved offer of £43m for the Ajax centre back.

Manchester United were lacking in star appeal at the start of their new era under Erik ten Hag

The squad touched down in Thailand for pre-season, and were greeted by hordes of their fans

The squad touched down in Thailand for pre-season, and were greeted by hordes of their fans

UNITED ON TOUR 

Liverpool (Bangkok) – July 12

Melbourne Victory (Melbourne) – July 15

Crystal Palace (Melbourne) – July 19

Aston Villa (Perth) – July 23  

However, it is understood that no further progress has been made in talks with Barcelona over No 1 transfer target Frenkie de Jong, and United also fear that RB Leipzig striker Brian Brobbey will choose a return to Ajax over reuniting with his old boss Ten Hag at Old Trafford.

The Dutchman and his squad were greeted by hundreds of Thai fans at Don Mueang International Airport after their 13-hour flight from Manchester before taking part in a welcome ceremony.

They had a closed training session on Saturday ahead of Tuesday’s opening tour game against Liverpool at the Rajamangala National Stadium with Ten Hag set to face the media on Monday.

Ronaldo’s future is likely to dominate the agenda after he asked to leave the club and was then given compassionate leave to miss a week of training and the first leg of the tour for family reasons.

Tyrell Malacia (right) is United's only signing of the summer so far, with other moves stalling

Tyrell Malacia (right) is United’s only signing of the summer so far, with other moves stalling

Cristiano Ronaldo has not joined his team-mates for the tour, and is keen to leave Old Trafford

Cristiano Ronaldo has not joined his team-mates for the tour, and is keen to leave Old Trafford

Ten Hag, who will hope forward Marcus Rashford can quickly put last season’s poor form behind him, will also be quizzed on the lack of signings as he tries to rebuild a squad that has already lost seven players – including marquee names like Paul Pogba and Edinson Cavani – with the start of the new Premier League campaign a month away.

United expect to sign Eriksen as a free agent despite claims by Brentford manager Thomas Frank that he is still optimistic the Dane will rejoin the Londoners. Like De Jong, Martinez and Brobbey, 30-year-old Eriksen has strong links to Ten Hag’s former club Ajax while Malacia was signed this week from their Dutch rivals Feyenoord.

‘I think he’s the modern left back or full-back,’ Ten Hag told MUTV.

‘He suits the profile and most important is, from every full-back, that he closes the right area but he can also take part in the offensive side of our game and he can do that really well. I think he will really contribute.’

The Red Devils will be keen to bring in reinforcements ahead of the Premier League season

 The Red Devils will be keen to bring in reinforcements ahead of the Premier League season

After just a week of training with his international players, Ten Hag hopes to impose his philosophy and style on the team during the 16-day tour that also takes in games against Melbourne, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa in Australia.

‘I have to learn, to know my squad: the personalities, the individuals, the players,’ he added. ‘That is one of the biggest advantages from the tour. We have two weeks to work really close together and we will learn about each other because I want to learn about them and they want to learn about me, my coaches and assistant managers.

‘My job is to construct a team and to improve the team. You can do it in different ways but, to start, it is out of a philosophy. Then you build it and go into the individuals and give them the rules and principles.

‘We want to play a proactive style of football – on the ball and off the ball. We are brave and willing to have the ball, to give each other options. But also off the ball, to get the pressing style is what we’re working for together.’

MAN UNITED PRE-SEASON SQUAD

1 De Gea 

2 Lindelof 

3 Bailly 

5 Maguire 

8 Bruno 

9 Martial 

10 Rashford 

12 Malacia 

16 Amad 

17 Fred 

19 Varane 

20 Dalot 

22 Heaton 

23 Shaw 

25 Sancho 

27 Telles

28 Pellistri 

29 Wan-Bissaka

30 Bishop 

34 Van de Beek 

36 Elanga 

37 Garner 

38 Tuanzebe 

39 McTominay 

40 Kovar 

41 Laird 

44 Chong 

46 Hannibal 

49 Garnacho 

51 Savage 

55 Iqbal 

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