The Red Devils have had an extremely chequered history in the transfer market since Alex Ferguson’s retirement, with the odd success but an awful lot of expensive flops or at best over-priced mediocrity.
That has not changed under Ten Hag’s management, with the likes of Antony and Sofyan Amrabat struggling to make much impact at the club, despite an enormous outlay on the former and a lengthy pursuit of the latter.
Another transfer disasters, Donny van de Beek, has now left the club on loan for Eintracht Frankfurt, having consistently failed to make an impression on the first team since his 2020 move from Ajax.
Ten Hag was asked if the midfielder’s transition from one of Europe’s brightest prospects to an Old Trafford outcast would put other young players off joining Manchester United.
‘That is always on those players and how much confidence you have in your capabilities,’ Ten Hag said, explaining why so many players have struggled.
‘But I can tell you one thing – the Premier League is tough. Man United, that is tough to play there because it’s easier to play in almost any other team than Man United because the pressure is that high always. You have to deal with that.
‘But if you have confidence in yourself, this is the best challenge and this is definitely the best club you want to be at as a player. It depends on player to player, and it depends especially on the character of the player, their personality.’
There had been hope for Van de Beek when Ten Hag arrived in Manchester because the pair had worked together successfully at Ajax, but the manager said it was actually injuries more than anything else that hampered his fellow Dutchman.
‘He has had many injuries,’ Ten Hag said. ‘First of all. I worked now with him for two years [at United] and before he was under different managers here. He had a loan before (to Everton) as well.
‘Actually, from the first moment I came in here at Manchester United, he wasn’t the player he was at Ajax because he was injured. So many times he was not available and then he struggled for a long time to recover. That is probably the main reason why he was not playing.
‘We decided for a loan in the summer but it didn’t come and then his opportunities are few because also we make appointments and we make agreements with players and contract players in that position. The competition was high.’
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