ERIK TEN HAG landed in Oslo with a massive hangover.
Not because of excessive blisters, as just under six weeks ago the corks didn’t pop at Wembley Stadium when he suffered a defeat in the FA Cup final against neighbors Manchester City.
No, it’s about all the issues that still haunt him as he tries to rebuild for next season.
Actually, he should still be happy about the success of a good first season as a coach.
The Dutchman led the club back into the Champions League with a third place finish.
They won their first silver title since 2017 by beating Newcastle in the Carabao Cup final.
Reaching the FA Cup final is likely to have had many positive aspects as well.
Unfortunately, the footballing world just realized how far they fall behind treble winners Manchester City in the most one-sided 2-1 win you’ve seen.
So what can be considered a success for some clubs does not apply to United, as the immediate question Ten Hag trotted out of Wembley Stadium was ‘What now?’
And at the moment he is preparing to face Leeds United on Wednesday night without a first-choice goalkeeper with David de Gea absent and an attempt to sign Andre Onana from Inter Milan somewhat at a dead end.
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There is no recognized No 9 as the long-awaited arrival of Harry Kane was ruled out earlier this summer as Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has refused to do business with the Red Devils.
That sent them to Serie A hoping to sign a Danish 20-year-old who scored ten goals for Atalanta last season and they are still unable to secure a deal for him.
The Italians somehow think Rasmus Hojlund is worth £50m but United don’t.
The thought of starting the season with Anthony Martial at the helm is unbearable.
Have you ever seen a player in a United shirt who seems less interested in football when not injured?
Then there’s a seemingly forgotten situation involving goalscorer Marcus Rashford, who had a career-best tally of 30 games from 56 last season.
The problem with this is that he still hasn’t agreed to a new contract as he enters the last year of his current contract.
Ten Hag won’t like it, but questions will continue to be asked at every press conference as to why this hasn’t been resolved.
The thought of starting the season with Anthony Martial at the helm is unbearable
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In turn, will that affect the player who wants to stay but hasn’t yet agreed a compromise with the club imposing a £300,000-a-week salary cap?
As SunSport reports, Rashford is ready to see who the new owners could be and what they have to offer.
Oh yes, new owners. This has been dragging on since November.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim are fighting to buy a club that the unpopular owning Glazer family believe is worth £6billion, which they clearly don’t.
Dissatisfaction with the fact that no deal was struck when the carrot of hope was presented to a global community of fans at the last World Cup continues to grow.
Is this the backdrop Ten Hag would like to have at every home game with marches, banners and chants?
But these fans have every right to protest and will not back down until there is a complete sell out.
The club has spent heavily over the last decade but has also seen over the years more than £1billion disappear into a black hole as the debt transferred to the club by the Glazer takeover had to be paid off.
Balance sheet balancing at Old Trafford left them with just £120m to spend this season.
Mason Mount has already netted £55m (+ £60m) in additions, the only positive from this summer so far with his arrival from Chelsea.
So there’s not much left to sign a recognized goalkeeper and striker if the dead spots can’t be moved.
Unfortunately for Ten Hag, nobody seems to be kicking in the door to buy Martial, Fred, Scott McTominay or club captain Harry Maguire.
They were all too much for David Moyes and for Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho imploded while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s dream was nigh but without that cigar we see Pep Guardiola smoke so regularly at the end of each season.
Ten Hag likes to dance when there is success, as he did on the pitch at Ajax.
He repeated it with Antony and Lisandro Martinez as they beat Newcastle at Wembley Stadium.
Unfortunately he just jumps through the hoops.
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