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Manchester United need to accelerate their transfer plans or forget top-four

Erik ten Hag’s Premier League bow did not go as planned with Manchester United succumbing to a 2-1 defeat at home by Brighton & Hove Albion.

The Dutchman was treated to a rapturous ovation as he made his way out to Old Trafford for the first time. The hopes of the supporters were high after having a tactically smart manager at the helm.

The Red Devils started the game in some style, having complete possession and fluently passing the ball. Their dominance did not last long as Graham Potter’s men grew as the game evolved.

Before half-time, they were ahead by two goals and on a verge of scripting their first-ever victory at Old Trafford.

By the time referee blew the final whistle, it was very evident that Man United need a few more players to strengthen their squad.

Multiple positions need reinforcement

The defeat against Brighton would have given Ten Hag a taste of things which could come ahead if the squad is not strengthened.

He desperately requires an imposing midfielder and a dependable goalscorer. These two signings should be so reliable that they can be straightaway put in the starting 11.

Ralf Ragnick was vocal at the end of the last season that United need a squad overhaul to return to winning ways. However, the club have spent only £50 million net approximately.

Three signings have been made – Tyrell Malacia, Lisandro Martínez and Christian Eriksen.

Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani, Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata were allowed to leave for free. Dean Henderson has also made a switch to Nottingham Forest on loan.

This shows that Man United are weaker than last year.

A midfielder and a striker should be their priorities while the right-back and goalkeeping spots should also see an upgrade.

Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave the club. He has an ambition to play and fight for the Champions League, which seems a far cry for United currently. Apart from him, Anthony Martial is the only striker present at the club. 

If Ronaldo does depart, Ten Hag cannot compete for Premier League top four with Martial leading the line all season.

The Frenchman is yet to justify his hefty price tag. He had a fine pre-season but that does not guarantee 20 goals which the manager would expect from his number nine.

The Red Devils have been chasing the signature of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong all summer.

A club as big as United should have a back-up plan. They cannot sit back and wait around a player to make a decision.

Fred and Scott McTominay started in the centre of the park yet again. The duo failed to control the ball, made poor decisions and were at times caught sleeping by Brighton’s high press.

Their performance highlighted why the club has to go and sign a proven midfielder as quickly as possible. There is still time to bring reinforcements but the club needs to act quickly. 

They cannot ask the new manager to go into the season with this squad and aim for Champions League football. 

That woul be criminal.