News From Manchester: Manchester United stance on summer transfer targets and Erik ten Hag playing style

Change on and off the pitch is coming and there are set to be further appointments – and departures – before they return to pre-season training on June 27. But will Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates be joined by any signings on day one at Carrington?

During his latest Q&A session with supporters, the MEN's chief Manchester United writer Samuel Luckhurst spoke about transfer business, contract situations and a whole range of other subjects – bringing you closer to what goes on behind the scenes at Old Trafford. Here are the highlights from that Q&A session;

Q: This time last year we knew our top transfer targets like Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane etc, but this time we haven't heard about it. Have they kept it as a secret or have they not decided yet?

SL: That's more a consequence of finishing outside the top four. Last year, United had top four boxed off before the March internationals, so the outlook was a lot clearer. With certain targets, they hinge on key events; Do Leeds stay up or go down? Would [Frenkie] De Jong like to play under Ten Hag again? United are also a much tougher sell than in previous years.

Q: I hear Boubacar Kamara has signed for Aston Villa, but I thought he would have been perfect for us age, characteristics, ability and fee-wise. Are there any credible alternatives out there that we have been linked with or you know of?

SL: Kamara was linked with United because of his contract situation, his position – bearing in mind United's issues there – and a particular midfielder who is about to depart United. I never heard anything serious that suggested he was a target, hence no story on him.

Q: Excluding out of contract players, which players are most likely to leave United and have the club listed these players for sale?

SL: I think [Dean] Henderson will go because he wants to and United are looking at back-up replacements. [Aaron] Wan-Bissaka and [Brandon] Williams are available, [Eric] Bailly and [Phil] Jones both want to leave, [Andreas] Pereira is for sale and [Anthony] Martial already has one foot out of the door.

Q: A lot has been made about signing Frenkie De Jong. I don't believe he's the midfielder United need as I believe we need someone more defensively-minded. If we do sign him, though, can you see United getting a DM to play alongside him? What are your thoughts of him as a player and signing?

SL: They do want a defensive midfielder this summer, but given Barcelona are open to selling De Jong – and United have appointed his old coach – Ten Hag wants to see if he would join. De Jong is brilliant to watch, but if I was him I would avoid United. It is not a stable enough environment to thrive in, never mind joining for scrutiny while playing in the game's most intense league.

Q: [Konrad] Laimer seems like the next best option after FDJ. What are the chances of looking at him as he was recommended? RB Leipzig would prefer to sell to us than Bayern Munich…

SL: Given what Ten Hag said when [Ralf] Rangnick was brought up at his press conference, I wouldn't be surprised United give any Red Bull players a swerve. I don't necessarily agree with that – when you consider the players that the club have developed and how certain clubs have benefited – but Ten Hag is not beholden to Rangnick's findings. It would take a lot for United to get players from two clubs in the Champions League.

Q: Do you think it's concerning that United have interest in two midfielders [Kalvin Phillips and De Jong] who both don't seem convinced at joining United. I appreciate United aren't in the Champions League, but shouldn't we be looking at players who are an easier sell and more keen to join?

SL: There is a lot to be concerned about at United. Matt Judge was asking about Dane Scarlett last month. United do due diligence on players, or claim to do so, and the Phillips talks suggested they had confidence he would join them if it got far down the line. Leeds staying up changes things, like Villa staying up did with Jack Grealish in 2020.

Q: Erik ten Hag said during his press conference that players dictate how you play. However, this team is not capable of playing possession-based football. How do you see that panning out seeing as though this squad is very anti-football?

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