Sky Sports: Ten Hag personally wants “monster” defender, he had Ronaldo’s Man Utd shirt

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Erik ten Hag guided Ajax to the Champions League semifinals while he was in Amsterdam, defeating Real Madrid and Juventus in the process. The only thing that could keep Tottenham out of the championship game was a thrilling last-minute goal from Lucas Moura in the second leg.

Ten Hag was reunited with Donny van de Beek, who was recruited by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in 2020, when he first came at Manchester United last year. However, things didn’t work out for the midfielder at Old Trafford, and he has since joined Eintracht Frankfurt on loan. Ten Hag lured that Ajax team’s custodian, Andre Onana, to Manchester last summer; he will be hoping for greater fortune in the Premier League.

The United manager appears to be pursuing another of his former players, this time in the back, as a result of a deficiency in playing time.

De Ligt’s annoyance might provide United an opportunity.

Ten Hag is “very interested” in signing Matthijs de Ligt from Bayern Munich, according to Sky Sport Germany. Every deal will depend on the former remaining in the position; United is presently suffering in seventh place. If he can stay, though, De Ligt might emerge as “one of the top transfer targets” in the summer.

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Bayern recently acquired Eric Dier from Tottenham, but they still need a centre defender. Ronald Araujo of Barcelona and Nordi Mukiele of PSG have also been touted. Transferring “is not out of the question” since De Ligt worries that if one of those players arrives, he might end up as the fourth option in his position.

Ronaldo used to be De Ligt’s idol.

After spending three years in Turin, De Ligt signed a €86 million contract to join Juventus, leaving Ajax at the end of the previous campaign. Bayern then purchased him for €67 million. After witnessing De Ligt’s brilliance in the Netherlands propel him to the World XI and UEFA Team of the Year, Bundesliga pundit Kevin Hatchard hailed it as a “monster” deal.

In his first year, he was named to the Bundesliga Team of the Season, which validated the initial buzz, but he has clearly fallen down the rankings this year. Despite missing six league games due to injury, he has only started four of the ten games in which he has been healthy.

A transfer to United is probably appealing, primarily because he has prior experience with Ten Hag. De Ligt called his former employer “a really good trainer” who “has a lot of qualities” in a speech given in 2022.

Beyond that, though, a guy who looked up to Cristiano Ronaldo as a kid—”especially in his time when he played at Manchester United”—might find nostalgic appeal as well. De Ligt claims that his first football garment was a Red Devils shirt with the Portuguese player’s name on the back. He might soon get the opportunity to don the strip himself, albeit on the opposing side of the pitch.

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