Erik ten Hag blasts Manchester United transfer business since Sir Alex Ferguson

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester United on 31 December, 2022 at Molineux in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom.
(Image credit: Simon Stacpoole/Offside via Getty Images)

Erik ten Hag has delivered a scathing assessment of Manchester United (opens in new tab)'s transfer business in the years following Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement.

The Dutchman's Old Trafford transformation has continued since the World Cup, with United winning all three Premier League games to go within nine points of leaders Arsenal (opens in new tab), as well as progressing in both domestic cups – most recently beating Everton (opens in new tab) 3-1 in the third round of the FA Cup on Friday night.

But Ten Hag has pulled no punches in his giving his opinion of United's dealings prior to his appointment last summer – nor the state in which he found the team.

In an interview with Dutch outlet Voetbal International (quotes via MailOnline), the 52-year-old said (opens in new tab):

"Manchester United didn't exactly have the fear factor last season. There was no spirit; I saw no team dynamic in the squad; the mental resilience was very low. I saw that as an outsider – and also noticed it in my first weeks at the club.

"I looked at the culture of the club; I asked, 'How did Manchester United become great?'.

"The club has bought an unimaginable number of players in recent years who have not been good enough. Most purchases have been average – and at United, average is not good enough. United's shirt weighs heavily."

United have just completed their first deal of the January window, signing Jack Butland on loan from Crystal Palace (opens in new tab) for the rest of the season as goalkeeping cover.

There may well be more significant moves to come, though, with Ten Hag speaking typically frankly last week about the club's ongoing efforts to improve the squad (opens in new tab).

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Tom Hancock started freelancing for FourFourTwo in April 2019 and has also written for The Analyst and When Saturday Comes, among others. He supports Wycombe Wanderers and has a soft spot for Wealdstone. A self-confessed statto, he has been known to watch football with a spreadsheet (or several) open...