Ten Hag Held Talks With Man United Talent To Return In January But He Refused

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag before the match.

Reuters/Peter Cziborra

John Murtough and Erik ten Hag showed impressive resilience to strengthen Manchester United’s squad mid-season without spending any money on permanent transfers.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s abrupt exit, Newcastle United’s decision to recall Martin Dúbravka, and Christian Eriksen’s injury days before the transfer deadline day forced United’s football director to jump into the transfer market to ensure the club’s manager isn’t left with a weakened squad for the second half of the season.

The signing of Wout Weghorst, Jack Butland, and Marcel Sabitzer – all on loan – points towards a decisive recruitment strategy that United have lacked in the recent past.

Ten Hag’s proactive approach, defined playing style, and decision-making in securing the right talents for his squad have only made Murtough’s task easier.

Early in January, Dubravka returned to his parent club, which left United with just two senior goalkeepers in David de Gea and Tom Heaton.

Ten Hag was quick to hold talks with Dean Henderson to ‘gauge his receptiveness’ to returning to Carrington, the Manchester Evening News have reported.

The video call with the Man United talent, who was sent on loan to Nottingham Forest before the start of the season, was Ten Hag’s first interaction with Henderson. The Dutch coach wasn’t best pleased with the English goalkeeper’s stint at Forest, as he felt conceding too many goals was counter-productive.

However, Henderson stressed he wants to see out the season with Forest. Once the 25-year-old rejected the chance to return to United, the club moved swiftly to sign Jack Butland from Crystal Palace.

Henderson’s decision might come back to haunt him following Forest’s signing of veteran goalkeeper Keylor Navas from PSG.