Erik ten Hag could fail to achieve what he wants at Manchester United if they keep spending huge transfer fees on big names rather than players with the ability to suit the club’s existing setup, according to former England defender Glen Johnson. The Red Devils have seemingly turned a corner under Ten Hag’s guidance over the last few weeks after an initially poor start to the campaign following a hugely expensive spending spree in the summer transfer window.
United splashed well over £200million on a number of big-name talents, including the likes of Casemiro and Antony, in order to bolster Erik ten Hag’s squad in pre-season as he looks to bring the glory days back to Old Trafford. However, Johnson has since questioned the club’s transfer policy by insisting that smarter recruitment will help Ten Hag to a greater extent than simply throwing money at the sport’s highest-profile stars.
“The way they’ve been going, they’re just spending money for fun aren’t they? I’m not sure [about it],” Johnson exclusively told Express Sport when quizzed on United’s current situation.
“I don’t think they’ll get into the top four. We probably are back to having the big six fighting for those four spots again, but I think United could be the ones to miss out.
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“Spending big money on individuals isn’t the answer. You need to buy players that are going to fit the way you play and suit the players you’ve already got.”
It remains to be seen whether United will be able to keep up with the Premier League’s very best sides over the course of this season, with Ten Hag facing a difficult task in his attempts to bring the Red Devils back into the division’s top four. They will be presented with the chance to make a major statement against Manchester City at Old Trafford after the international break, but Johnson believes that the superior quality of their bitter rivals could simply be too much for United to cope with on this occasion.
“It’s certainly going to be tough to stop them,” he added. “I’d be surprised if United get a result because City have been fantastic, they look great.
“They’ve pretty much got the best striker in the league, or even the world, at the moment. They’re certainly going to take some pegging back.”
Johnson was speaking to Express Sport while attending an event at Anfield, co-hosted by Liverpool and SC Johnson, with the aim of helping local children to improve their recycling and sustainability knowledge.
“We’ve got 200 kids over who we’re teaching about renewable energy and recycling and learning certain ways to save the planet going forward,” he explained. “There’s certain activities they’ve been doing with us today where they can take things home and educate their parents and try and help everybody to have a better future.”
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