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Manchester United have an obvious target date to complete key signings

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Manchester United have an obvious target date to complete key signings
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It’s that time of year when the admin on the Manchester United Twitter account must be tempted to turn off replies and have a day or two off.

Manchester United have an obvious target date to complete key signings

Frenkie de Jong

Every tweet currently evokes demands to ‘Announce De Jong’ or a hail of abuse at the club’s lack of transfer activity so far. As winning the transfer market becomes as important as winning the actual football it’s a pretty common theme at this time of year for every club.

But United’s travails of the previous nine years make them more susceptible than most to the panic of supporters who see targets slipping away. Fans of Liverpool and Manchester City have become accustomed to having faith in the deal makers at Anfield at the Etihad, but the same can’t be said at Old Trafford.

Nine years of waste have led to a lack of trust in the people pulling the strings at United. Money has been squandered, targets have been missed and the net result of around £1billion has been an FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League. So when supporters see Manchester City signing Erling Haaland, Liverpool closing in on Darwin Nunez and even Tottenham signing Ivan Perisic, they fear the worst.

ALSO: Erik ten Hag knows Frenkie de Jong success would rely on another Manchester United signing

The reality is the transfer window has been open for five days and the season only ended for many players with this week’s final round of Nations League games. Every manager wants players through the door as early as possible and Erik ten Hag will be desperate for the same, but there is also an acceptance that these deals can take time.

Paying Barcelona’s asking price for Frenkie de Jong might get the deal done this week, but it would also set a precedent that this a club willing to pay up and, perhaps more crucially this summer, leave little in the budget to strengthen in attack and defence. Long-term it’s not a sensible approach.

Even if a deal was done for De Jong this week he would only immediately head off on holiday, anyway. It might avoid the possibility of facing any competition for the 25-year-old, but it’s not a secret he’s available and United still have a pretty clear run at the Holland international.

What Ten Hag will really want is a couple of players, at least, in when the real business of pre-season begins. The 52-year-old will welcome some of his squad back to Carrington on June 27 and that early return is a sign of the work he feels is required to turn the club’s fortunes around this summer.

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But the only players back in the building then will be those who haven’t been involved in internationals this month. It might give the likes of Luke Shaw, Donny van de Beek, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford an early opportunity to become acclimatised with Ten Hag’s methods, but it will be far from a full squad in those first couple of weeks.

Maybe the key date for Ten Hag will be July 8, when United are set to head to Bangkok for the start of an intensive 16-day tour encompassing four games in Bangkok, Melbourne and Perth. That block of training, the run of games and the length of time the squad will be together could be absolutely vital.

That might be a date that Ten Hag is keen to circle for potential new signings. The internationals are likely to get around four weeks off, so could be back in time for the tour, and the new manager will want some new faces on the plane.

Those weeks away could be of significant benefit to new signings and a deal for De Jong should certainly be achievable by then. If it hasn’t been wrapped up United might well have moved on to new targets anyway.

Given United’s recent history the concern at the lack of signings might be understandable, but there is no need to panic yet. For Ten Hag, the ideal timing for new arrivals is still a few weeks away.

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