Erik ten Hag says he ‘cannot wait’ for Cristiano Ronaldo to join up with the rest of the Manchester United side this summer, but says the club must still make new signings before the August 31st transfer deadline.
Manchester United are currently preparing for the final game of their tour of Thailand and Australia, with Ten Hag having so far gotten off to a perfect start with three successive wins over Liverpool, Melbourne Victory and Crystal Palace.
With Aston Villa up next for the Red Devils before the side travel back to Manchester, there has been one notable absentee from the club’s pre-season preparations, with Cristiano Ronaldo having been allowed to remain in Europe due to what has been described as “family reasons”.
However, the five time Ballon d’Or winner is seemingly trying to engineer an exit from Old Trafford due to the club’s lack of Champions League football, though there seems to be very few clubs with a genuine ambition to sign him.
United have insisted publicly that the player is not for sale, and when asked for an update about the player’s situation, Ten Hag said he was looking forward to his return before he will ‘integrate’ him into his style of football.
“No [update],” he said at a press conference in Perth. “It’s the same as last week.”
Asked if he was concerned by Ronaldo’s absence from his pre-season preparations, Ten Hag said: “Of course, concerning is maybe not the right word.
“I focus on the players who are there and they are doing really well. They are in good shape and I have further focus on that and develop that.
“I cannot wait for him to come in and then we will integrate him.”
Without Ronaldo, United’s current front three of Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial seem to be really flourishing and adapting well to Ten Hag’s pressing system, showcasing some neat interplay and having netted seven of the club’s 11 pre-season goals.
🗣 "It's vital if you want to get success."
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) July 22, 2022
Speaking earlier in the tour, Ten Hag identified midfield and up-front as areas that need to be strengthened, and despite the positive performances of his current front three, the Dutchman insisted it was ‘vital’ that the club make further attacking additions before the close of the transfer window.
“We signed Eriksen for the midfield department, so we are really happy with that,” Ten Hag said. “And yes, I am really happy also with our performances of our midfield department and offensive department at this moment.
“But I also know about this season – we talk about it in Bangkok and Melbourne – it’s a lot of games, the World Cup, so we need more options where you have a good team, and it’s not only about the team, you need a good squad to get the right results at the end of the season.
“So we have to strengthen the squad even more and we are looking around but we also need the right players.
“There is a reason in a number of games you need more options in offence, [that’s] clear. I think it’s vital if you want to get success, the season is really long but we still also have time to fill that in.
“Back in Manchester Eriksen, [and Lisandro] Martinez will join in, we have more options, I think they can quite quickly integrate into the team.”
United have been linked with Ajax winger Antony in recent weeks, while former Reds number 7 Memphis Depay has also been suggested as a potential target in more recent days.
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