Man Utd transfers: Erik ten Hag must not let financial might dictate strategy

We’ve got to a point now where a generation of Manchester United fans must wonder what Roy Keane and the other pundits are on about when they say ‘this is Manchester United we’re talking about’, or some such clichéd statement based on decade-old reverence.

There will be teenage Red Devils whose experiences of ‘success’ for their club consists of two domestic cups and a European trophy that they will have been told at the time was beneath them.

Jurrien Timber, Erik ten Hag’s top defensive target this summer, was six years old when United last won the Champions League. Antony, also linked, may just have been old enough to watch the conclusion of that 2008 final – he was eight. If Manchester United are a ‘big club’ to them, hearsay has been the main method of indoctrination.

And perhaps for the first time in the Premier League era, we are seeing United struggle to attract players to the club amid an ongoing battle with their own identity. Their perception of themselves – the club DNA etc etc – is vastly different to how they’re perceived by everyone else.

90min understands that they are close to agreeing a deal for Frankie de Jong, who will be dragged kicking and screaming from Barcelona. “I’m at the biggest club in the world,” De Jong said earlier this month, bemused at the thought of leaving Camp Nou for Old Trafford.

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