Manchester United football director Johan Murtough has said the club is ‘ahead of schedule’ in term of recruitment plans as new manager Erik ten Hag builds a squad capable of competing for trophies.
United slumped to sixth place in the Premier League last season after winning only three of their 12 games to finish 13 points adrift of the top four. Interim boss Ralf Rangnick warned at the time that the squad needed ‘open heart surgery’ and potentially 10 new signings in the summer window.
Despite failing to conclude a deal for Frenkie de Jong, United did recruit well overall, bringing in Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen, Lisandro Martinez, Casemiro, Antony and back-up goalkeeper Martin Dubravka. Malacia, Eriksen, Martinez and Antony in particular have started well.
Heading the other way, United bid farewell to Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic and Edinson Cavani among others at the end of last season.
Murtough has hinted that United achieved more in summer than they intended to and will have less player turnover over the next few windows. But further transfer planning is more focused on next summer rather than the upcoming January transfer window.
“During the summer we made significant investment in the first team squad with the permanent addition of five regular starters, including a balance of experienced international players and younger, emerging talent,” Murtough said as he and United’s other top officials addressed investors.
“We also saw a higher-than-usual number of departures, and this was an equally important part of refreshing the squad after the disappointing 2021-22 season.”
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Murtough suggested that United’s most important summer acquisition was not a new player but actually Ten Hag, who has overseen four consecutive wins since a poor start to the season.
“We will continue to support Erik in ensuring he has players with the right quality and characters to achieve success, while ensuring that investment remains consistent with our commitment to financial sustainability,” Murtough said.
“Overall, we are ahead of schedule in our recruitment plans as envisaged at the start of the summer, and we do not anticipate the same level of activity in future windows. As always, our planning focuses on the summer window.”