Erik ten Hag, the manager of Manchester United, is adamant that he wants to recruit English players but that their transfer costs are too high.
While Christian Eriksen, who gained notoriety at Ajax and trained with Ten Hag as a free agent earlier this year, joined United from Eredivisie teams, Tyrell Malacia and Lisandro Martinez have also come from Eredivisie clubs.
Ajax’s Jurrien Timber and Antony have also come under Ten Hag’s attention, while United continues to show interest in Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who Ten Hag coached at Ajax for 18 months.
Due to their failure to make the Champions League, United’s options on the transfer market are restricted, yet they have spent £55.3 million on Martinez, an Argentinean player.
Raheem Sterling moved from Manchester City to Chelsea earlier this month for a reported £47.5 million price that might increase to £50 million. Jack Grealish became the first player in English football to earn $100 million last year.
The most expensive defender in the history of the sport, Harry Maguire, cost United £80 million three years ago. Jadon Sancho joined United last year for £72.9 million.
United inflicted the “English tax” in 2019 when they paid £50 million for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who is now a transferable player.
Even though Ten Hag favored familiarity with his three new acquisitions, senior United sources at the time claimed that they wanted to pursue British players. Ten Hag concurred.
Ten Hag stated, “I would like to sign English players because I believe there is only one requirement, and that is quality combined with money. The cost of English players seems to be extremely high. You cannot argue with reality. In the end, quality matters.
Ten Hag also allayed worries about Martinez’s 5′ 9″ height. Although he may not be the tallest, he is highly skilled in the air. That is OK with me. You must, of course, strike the proper balance. One of his talents is having impeccable timing.
“I believe we have quality players [at center-back], but I also believe we need a strong, deep squad. On the left side of the defense last year, I studied United. He has a left foot, which is advantageous for both attacking and defending.