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Ten Hag: Six Africans for his Man United rebuild.



Ten Hag: Six Africans for his Man United rebuild. 49




Erik ten Hag Ajax

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Ten Hag signs on

Erik ten Hag has finally been confirmed as the new Manchester United manager, ending months of speculation as to who will be the next man in the Old Trafford dugout.

The scale of the rebuilding job on his hands is massive given how far United have fallen behind their rivals and, just on Tuesday, interim manager Ralf Rangnick said the club could need up to 10 new players to get to where they need and want to be.

As Ten Hag plots his transfer targets, Joel Omotto looks at six African players who could help his rebuilding job.

Edmond Tapsoba Leverkusen 2021

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Edmond Tapsoba

Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Phil Jones cost United a combined fee of nearly £200 million yet the club badly needs a defender.

United’s leaky backline has conceded 48 goals in the Premier League this season, the highest among the top 10, a damning indictment on their recruitment.

They can start getting it right by bringing in Burkina Faso defender Tapsoba, who has been in impressive form for Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen.

Tapsoba is a ball-playing defender who is good in one-versus-one situations while also athletic, features none of the current United centre-backs possess.

Unlike Varane, Bailly and Jones, who cannot keep injuries at bay, Tapsoba has no such troubles as he has already featured in 60 Bundesliga games since joining Leverkusen in 2020, giving United continuity and stability.

Noussair Mazraoui, Ajax - NAC Breda, 02022018


Noussair Mazraoui

Another area that needs a makeover is right-back, where Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot have failed to impress over the last three years.

The two offer little going forward and are not defensively sound, making Morocco’s Mazraoui an upgrade for this position if Ten Hag opts to raid his former team.

Going for a former player would make adaptation easy for Mazraoui since he understands the Dutchman’s philosophy.

Mazraoui is good at keeping the ball and has no problem bombing down the wing while providing pin-point crosses, something United have lacked for years.

Yves Bissouma

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Yves Bissouma

The Mali central midfielder, who plays for Brighton and Hove Albion, possesses everything that United do not have in the engine room.

The six-foot-tall defensive midfielder is a towering presence who is good at reading the game and adept at progressing the ball through long and short passes which will allow United to play through the lines in Ten Hag’s favoured possession-based 4-3-3 system.

He will not come cheap though since Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are also said to be interested, but United could finally find a replacement for Michael Carrick if they managed to get Bissouma.

Amadou Haidara RB Leipzig

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Amadou Haidara

The Red Devils could end up having a midfield pivot made in Mali if they decided to go for the RB Leipzig midfielder.

Haidara was rumoured to be a United target during the January transfer window given Rangnick knows his qualities too well, having signed him for Leipzig from their sister club Red Bull Salzburg.

Unlike Bissouma, who likes to sit in front of the defence, Haidara is strong at initiating the press, which will offer United dynamism as he is a threat when attacking and an asset out possession, helping them to defend from the front.

A self-confessed United fan, Haidara will be happy to fly to Manchester even without Champions League football next season.

Victor Osimhen Napoli

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Victor Osimhen

United stared the season with Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani, Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial as strikers but could start next campaign with none of them at the club.

They need a proven goal scorer and Napoli hitman Victor Osimhen could be the one.

Osimhen has managed 16 goals in an injury-disrupted season but the Nigerian is capable of hitting 25 or 30 if fit.

Osimhen’s hold-up play is excellent while he is also good at attacking and creating spaces for team-mates.

Anyone who doubts whether he can fit in Ten Hag’s style needs to look at the rebirth of Sebastien Haller at Ajax after losing his way at West Ham United.

Amad Diallo-20220129

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Amad Diallo

With Ten Hag keen to make decisions over United players on loan quickly, the Rangers loanee could be given a second lease of life at the club under the Dutchman, who may have to look for some internal solutions for some existing problems.

The Ivorian winger joined United with a huge promise, but his career has plateaued.

No one is better at nurturing raw talent than the Dutch coach, and Amad could be given an opportunity to prove himself yet again, given Marcus Rashford’s poor form and uncertain future.