Man Utd's latest transfer pursuit further proof of Ten Hag failure

Tom Weber
Tom Weber
  • Updated: 27 Feb 2024 11:42 GMT
  • 4 min read
Erik ten Hag, Sergio Reguilon, Man Utd

Manchester United are in the market for a new left-back, according to Fabrizio Romano.

The Italian transfer expert revealed on Monday that the Red Devils will target a new left-back in the summer, with Erik ten Hag identifying the left side of his defence as a new problem position. This is due to the fact that Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia have been out injured for most of the season.

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Interestingly, Romano claims that Man Utd will target a young left-back rather than an established star. While not an egregious decision, this again highlights several things. For one, their left-back pursuit is further proof that transfer business under the Erik ten Hag regime has thus far been incredibly shortsighted.

Additionally, it casts doubt on the idea that Man Utd will be 'more ruthless' with Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his men in charge of sporting operations. The fact that the Red Devils are not planning to bring in a big name simply because they already have Luke Shaw shows a clear lack of ambition.

Tyrell Malacia
© IMAGO - Tyrell Malacia

Man Utd's comedy of left-back errors

The decisions Man Utd have made on their left-backs over the last 18 months are symbolic of the club's general transfer failures. In the summer of 2022, Ten Hag brought in Tyrell Malacia from Feyenoord for €15 million.

While his injuries are unfortunate and obviously not the fault of Ten Hag, there is no denying the fact that Malacia has been incredibly underwhelming when fit.

In April of last year, United handed Luke Shaw a bumper new deal, a reward for a heartwarming redemption arc after the England international was previously said to be overweight and deemed not good enough to play at Old Trafford. Yet, this has now come back to bite them as well.

Again, injuries are unfortunate, but Shaw's fitness issues were actually somewhat more predictable than Malacia's. The 28-year-old was already injury-prone prior to this season, so the decision to tie him down until age 31 was a gamble and it now prevents Man Utd from signing a proper upgrade.

A good Premier League left-back on his day, Shaw is far from elite and this raises questions about the Red Devils' choice of persisting with him, especially in light of the fact that Alphonso Davies, arguably the world's best player in that position, will likely be available for just €50m in the summer.

Luke Shaw
© IMAGO - Luke Shaw

Finally, you have to question Ten Hag's decision to send Sergio Reguilon back to Tottenham in January. Loaned late in the summer transfer window to replace Shaw, Man Utd exercised their break clause in the Spaniard's deal last month and now, with Shaw injured again, they find themselves without a fit senior left-back at the club.

A bit more foresight and ambition could not only have prevented the club's current shortage of left-back options but it could also have prevented Man Utd from having to beef up yet another position in the summer.

Clubs will know that the Red Devils will be desperate and that they will have money to spend. Man Utd, for all the talk of this new era of competence under Ratcliffe, are at risk of getting absolutely fleeced again in the summer.

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