Erik ten Hag must make a decision on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s £55m transfer haul
The new Manchester United manager has plenty of decision to mull over as he gets to grips with life at Old Trafford during his first pre-season as Red Devils boss
Erik ten Hag has much to think about as he aims to restore Manchester United to their former glories, but some problems are more expensive than others.
With that in mind, the Dutchman needs to think of a plan for the three players signed by former Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who as of yet have failed to live up to lofty expectations. The trio of Donny van de Beek, Alex Telles and Facundo Pellistri have all struggled to make any kind of impact at Old Trafford since being signed by the Norwegian.
The trio cost a combined fee of £55million, yet are a long way off justifying that price tag. Van de Beek makes up most of that figure after United parted ways with £40m to bring the Netherlands international to the Premier League – prying him away from an Ajax side managed by Ten Hag in the process.
After shining in the Eredivisie, Van de Beek bagged a debut goal and sparked huge excitement among the United faithful that he was the club’s next midfield saviour. It did not play out as expected, due to Van de Beek not really playing at all.
A constant presence on the bench for the majority of Solskjaer’s reign, Van de Beek was restricted to late cameo appearances off the bench mixed with the odd League Cup run-out. By the time Ralf Rangnick replaced Solskjaer on an interim basis, he wasted little time in sending the ex-Ajax talent on loan to Everton.
However, things failed to really take off at Goodison Park and Van de Beek was not the central figure many had tipped him to be on the blue half of Merseyside for the latter half of last season. Despite this, there is a clear pathway in which he can revive his flatlining United career under the manager that knows him best.
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The Red Devils are hardly packed to the brim of top quality midfield options as things stand, plus Ten Hag oversaw the best form of Van de Beek’s career in the Dutch capital and will be confident he can do the same in Manchester.
As for Alex Telles, the Brazilian full-back has certainly featured the most out of these three Solskjaer signings but has also had to spend lengthy periods on the bench deputising for first-choice left-back Luke Shaw.
Despite failing to ever enjoy a run of sustained, solid form in a United shirt, Telles is seemingly never shy of potential suitors. At the tail-end of last year, the defender’s name was being touted with moves to one of the two Milan-based giants in AC or Inter.
Technically sound, Ten Hag may appreciate Telles’ ability on the ball but there are lingering question marks over his defensive qualities.
Pellistri, though young and still boasting plenty of time to turn things around, is yet to make a competitive first-team appearance for United after signing from Uruguayan outfit Penarol in October of 2020.
An underwhelming loan spell with La Liga outfit Alaves has not helped his hopes of cementing his status as a first-team regular at Old Trafford.
Pellistri played 21 games for the Spanish outfit last term, but did not score a goal all season. To make matters worse, assists also evaded him and the campaign concluded without a single goal contribution.
Those numbers are partly due to his limited game time in Spain and Ten Hag is reportedly willing to hand Pellistri a chance to prove his worth over pre-season.