Manchester United - Football: Which Ajax players should be on Ten Hag's radar?
Manchester United are beginning a new era under Erik ten Hag this summer, but will the Dutchman raid former club Ajax for new signings?
It promises to be a summer of upheaval at Old Trafford, with the likes of Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Edinson Cavani all set to leave the club when their contracts expire.
New manager Ten Hag is yet to bring in any reinforcements, but after a successful five years in charge of Ajax, he could turn to his former club for new recruits.
We have run the rule over some of the Ajax players that could be on Man Utd's radar this summer and the chances of each ending up at the club come the end of the summer.
There is no doubt that reinforcements are required in Manchester, with United having finished sixth in the Premier League last season and they are priced at 51.00 to land the title this term, while they can be backed at 4.33 to finish in the top four.
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Jurrien Timber - Defender
Perhaps the Ajax player that has been most strongly linked with a summer switch to Old Trafford is versatile defender Jurrien Timber.
The 20-year-old has established himself as a regular at Ajax over the last two seasons after being handed his senior debut by Ten Hag in March 2020. His form at club level has also earned him international recognition with the Netherlands.
Timber primarily operates as a central defender, but can also play at right-back, a position where United are looking to strengthen with incumbent Aaron Wan-Bissaka expected to leave the club over the summer.
However, it is understood Timber has reservations about joining United due to concerns over his game-time, particularly as he wants to secure his place in Louis van Gaal's Oranje squad for the World Cup.
Former United boss van Gaal has reportedly warned Timber about moving to the Red Devils for that very reason, meaning a switch this summer is now unlikely, forcing Ten Hag to turn to other potential targets.
Lisandro Martinez - Defender
One such player could be Timber's Ajax team-mate Lisandro Martinez, who is another that has impressed since moving to Amsterdam in 2019.
Argentina international Martinez has made 120 appearances across all competitions during his three seasons with Ajax. The Red Devils are not the only Premier League club said to be interested, with Arsenal reportedly having had a £30m bid rejected for the 24-year-old earlier in the summer.
United would seemingly have to pay considerably more than that to land Martinez, but with Phil Jones and Eric Bailly expected to leave the club this summer, Ten Hag may be willing to go big in his pursuit of the centre-back.
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Antony - Winger
It is not just defensively where United are looking to strengthen, as Ten Hag appears keen to land a new winger after the likes of Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford underwhelmed last season.
One man Ten Hag knows well is Ajax wide man Antony, who certainly has creativity in abundance, as he was directly involved in 22 goals in just 32 appearances for the Amsterdam club last season.
A full Brazil international, Antony has been a star performer since arriving at Ajax for an initial £13m from Sao Paolo two years ago, but if United do want to sign him this summer, he is likely to cost three times that amount.
Another issue is that Ajax reportedly do not want to lose both Antony and Martinez in the same transfer window, meaning United may have to choose which player they would prefer to land.
Sebastien Haller - Forward
Man Utd were heavily reliant on the goals of 37-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo last season, he netted 24 across all competitions, but only one other United player reached double figures, with Bruno Fernandes contributing 10.
That has led to speculation linking United with a new centre-forward this summer and Ajax striker Sebastien Haller has previously been linked. However, the former West Ham star now looks set to join Borussia Dortmund.
Signing Haller would have been a risk given how he struggled during 18 months at West Ham, but after netting 34 times last season, including 11 in eight Champions League matches, his Ajax form cannot be questioned.
Haller turned 28 on Wednesday and is arguably just entering the peak years of his career, but it looks like it will be Dortmund that reap the benefit of that rather than United.
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