Man Utd must act quickly to replace Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba – opinion

Erik ten Hag was unveiled as Manchester United’s next manager last month and the Dutchman is believed to be busy at work already, having impressed in his first media appearance.

The 53-year-old won’t meet with his new players until they return for pre-season at the end of this month, with some not returning until later in July due to their involvement in international fixtures.

Five players are already confirmed to be leaving the club at the end of this month when their contracts expire. Edinson Cavani, Lee Grant, Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Jesse Lingard have all announced their departures.

All of them will need to be replaced but Matic and Pogba in particular will leave a gaping hole in the side’s midfield, with Scott McTominay, Donny van de Beek and Fred remaining as the club’s only senior midfielders.

Furthermore, McTominay and Fred are in action for their countries and will not be present when Ten Hag meets his squad for the first time this month. That leaves Van de Beek as the only senior midfielder at Ten Hag’s disposal.

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A functioning midfield is at the heart of Ten Hag’s philosophy and getting the right characters in early will be paramount to any success he has early on in his tenure.

Scrambling to find the right profile of player in the last week of the window would be a disaster for United but if the club is able to bring at least one midfielder in to take part in pre-season, that would make Ten Hag’s job a whole lot easier.

Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong has been heavily linked with a move to United but the 25-year-old is reluctant to leave his club, making a quick transfer highly unlikely.

Chelsea’s N’Golo Kanté has also been rumoured as a target for United but that’s another deal that’s highly unlikely to get done sooner rather than later.

Ten Hag needs options for when he drills the squad and it’s United’s job to provide him with the tools.

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