Erik Ten Hag’s first Man Utd transfer target suggests Gary Neville’s criticism was correct

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Erik ten Hag has already identified his first transfer target should he be given the Manchester United job. Ajax star Antony is top of the wish list and that would indicate that Gary Neville was right all along.

With Ten Hag wanting to reunite with Antony at United should he be given the job this summer, it has justified Neville’s long-held criticism of his old club. The Ajax boss is in the forefront to become the new manager at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils legend insisted his old team went wrong when they did not sign a right winger back in 2020 when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was in charge. Jadon Sancho was brought in the following year, but the former Borussia Dortmund star has always been more effective on the left-hand side.

“You have six midfield players at the club: Nemanja Matic, Fred, Scott McTominay, Bruno Fernandes, Donny Van de Beek and Paul Pogba and you’ve somehow got to get them into a system, which is forcing Ole to play a diamond,” Neville told Sky Sports after United were beaten by Arsenal.

“I think there was an element of him thinking he could just put four players in that diamond and it would work after what happened in midweek but Scott McTominay on the right-hand side wasn’t working after five minutes.

“You have to be comfortable moving out into that wide area. Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s already a bit awkward on the ball at right-back so you need someone to balance it and the balance on the right is a real problem for United.”

And two years later, it appears United might just have realised that Neville was right and could finally solve that problem this summer. Ten Hag has been interviewed for the job at Old Trafford and is the frontrunner for the post.

According to Dutch publication De Telegraaf, the Ajax boss wants to bring Antony with him to United should he get the job. The 22-year-old has been in fine form for the Eredivisie leaders.

In 33 appearances, he has made 22 goal contributions but perhaps more impressive is his trickery and finesse on the wing. The Brazilian almost exclusively plays on the right-wing – exactly where Neville believes United have been going wrong for a number of years.

Mauricio Pochettino remains in the frame to take over at the Red Devils where he has been a long-term target. But Ten Hag has impressed with his long-term vision of the club and how he wants to develop the young players at United’s prestigious academy.

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