Erik ten Hag wants clarity on Manchester United’s spending power

Erik ten Hag wants clarity on Manchester United’s spending power

Erik ten Hag wants clarity on Manchester United’s spending power

Erik ten Hag at training - Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

Erik ten Hag at training – Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

Erik ten Hag says he is in the dark about his spending power this summer as the Manchester United takeover saga continues.

The United manager is desperate to strengthen his squad, with a pedigree striker at the top of his list, but planning for another critical summer isn’t made easier by continued uncertainty over who will own the club.

Telegraph Sport reported this week how Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos group and Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani are seeking immediate transfer control in case one of their bids to buy the club gets the green light from the family Glazer.

With just over five weeks to go before the transfer window formally opens, time is running out for the Glazers to make a decision.

Fans renewed their calls for the complete removal of the American owners amid massive protests at Sunday’s match against Aston Villa and they aren’t the only ones wanting clarity on the situation.

Asked if he had been told what funds he would have available this summer, regardless of what happened to the club, Ten Hag replied: “No. I have no influence on this. I didn’t… I also don’t know.

“The only thing I know is that Manchester United is one of the biggest clubs in the world, one of the two or three biggest from a fans point of view. The club must compete for the top [honours] in the world – Champions League, Premier League – but in football you need funds to build teams because, ultimately, the level of your players decides whether you are successful or not.

“Everyone knows that you need money to build a squad and top-level players cost a lot of money and that’s the situation in top-level football today.”

Ten Hag are keen to sign Harry Kane, with United exploring the feasibility of a deal for the England captain between reserves over being involved in a protracted transfer saga with Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy.

A striker remains Ten Hag’s top priority, but they also want a quality midfielder and other areas of the squad may also need to be addressed.

Harry Kane - PA/Peter Byrne

Harry Kane – PA/Peter Byrne

United can take another significant step towards Champions League qualification and, with it, the promise of a boost in revenue by beating Brighton at the Amex Stadium on Thursday night as Ten Hag hope their side can improve on their disappointing record in away game in the league against the top-10 teams.

The Dutchman hopes to swell his market through sales but admitted clarity over the ownership situation would be useful as he looks to build on a promising first season at Old Trafford.

A debt-free takeover of Qatar, for example, could instantly boost United’s income streams to £45m a year just through the end of interest and dividend payments alone.

When asked how important it is that the takeover process is resolved quickly so he knows what he’s up against this summer, Ten Hag said: “I think it’s clear what I want, but it’s not up to me. It’s about others in this club. The family is the owner, it makes the decisions, it doesn’t depend on me so I do everything possible and influence the processes for which I am responsible.

“Where I can bring my influence I will on processes but that [the ownership] it’s not my job or my responsibility, so I have no power to influence it. So I’m focusing on team improvement, team development. I have to make sure the team is progressing and I’m focusing on that.”

Ten Hag was spotted picking up a green and gold scarf – a symbol of the anti-Glazer movement – at the Villa match, but the manager said: ‘It was just [me being] polite,” he said. “I know what’s going on, what its symbol is, but this matter was right [being] educated.”

Meanwhile, the Dutchman has reignited hopes of Raphael Varane playing a role at the end of the season. The French midfielder has not played since he injured his ankle against Sevilla three weeks ago. “Rapha is closer [to returning] by Scott McTominay right now, but still for the next two games [Brighton and West Ham on Sunday] they are not available,” Ten Hag said.

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