'First thing' - Erik ten Hag and Jim Ratcliffe have laid out Manchester United transfer plans

-Credit: (Image: Manchester United/Manchester United via Getty Images.)
-Credit: (Image: Manchester United/Manchester United via Getty Images.)

Erik Ten Hag is set to sign a new contract at Manchester United after the club decided to keep him in charge. With reinforcements to his coaching staff in the offing, fans are hopeful new signings will soon follow to strengthen the squad.

As MEN Sport reported this weekend, United want a defender, a midfielder and a forward with any further signings likely dependent on getting unwanted players off the books. Everton centre-back Jarrad Branthwaite, PSG midfielder Manuel Ugarte and Bologna striker Joshua Zirkzee are options.

While United works away in the background, it is worth recalling what Ten Hag and co-owner Jim Ratcliffe have said regarding transfers in the build-up to the transfer window.

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Erik Ten Hag

While Ten Hag's future was the talk of the end of the season, there was still time for the manager to discuss his plans for the transfer market. In April, he said: "We are working in the background on the plans with scouting and our staff. We are working on our plan, which is ready, it just needs [us] to execute.

"I trust the new ownership that they will work as quick as possible and will bring new structures and they can execute. We have good plans with quality players so you see about recruitment. [Andre] Onana is doing very well, [Rasmus] Hojlund, everyone is seeing his big talent and potential. [Lisandro] Martinez, everyone is hugely happy with him. The recruitment is good, but if they [INEOS] have even better ideas, we are always open.

"You have to judge the options and if they have better options, we are open to fill this in. We have a way we want to play so we know the profiles exactly, so it has to match the profiles we want."

Later in April, Ten Hag went further, saying he wanted a quality back-up option in every position - highlighting the need for a new striker and left-back. "You need more options. You need double positioning in every position," he said.

"Some positions we didn't have the choices this season - the striker position, the left-back position - and that has a negative impact on the results."

Into May, and Ten Hag had met with Ineos about future plans in the transfer market, at the same time as the talk over his own future was growing. He said: "Initial meetings are good. Now we have to take things quickly because the summer is coming. It's a very important period where you come into a window. We want to make the next step into our squad and make plans to create an environment that avoids this year's problems in injuries."

And before the FA Cup final, Ten Hag spoke of an end-of-season review with INEOS, presumably separate to the review conducted to decide on whether to sack him or not.

"After every season, you review it and we will see where we are in the project, things that we have to change but we spoke lately about it," Ten Hag explained. "There are very good things, players coming up, players developing, values coming up and on Saturday we have a big opportunity to win the next trophy."

Jim Ratcliffe

After purchasing a minority stake in United, Ratcliffe and INEOS also took control of transfers, with the new co-owner explaining in March what he wanted from United's business.

"What I would rather do is find the next [Kylian] Mbappe, rather than spend a fortune just trying to buy success," Ratcliffe told the Geraint Thomas Cycling Club podcast. "It's not that clever, is it, buying Mbappe, in a way?

"Anybody could figure that one out. But what's much more challenging is to find the next Mbappe, the next [Jude] Bellingham or the next Roy Keane."

In the same interview, Ratcliffe distanced United from repeating the big-money signings of recent years. “The solution isn’t spending a lot of money on a couple of great players," he insisted.

"They’ve done that, if you look at the last 10 years. The first thing we need to do is get the right people in the right boxes, managing and organising the club.

“We must make sure we get recruitment right, such a vital part of running a football club is getting recruitment right, finding new players.”