Five Manchester United issues Erik ten Hag still needs to solve including Cristiano Ronaldo saga


Manchester United’s tour of Thailand and Australia could not have gone much better.

Their performances against Liverpool, Melbourne Victory and Crystal Palace have shown no signs of a hangover from their disastrous 2021/22 campaign. United have been scoring goals for fun and they’ve only conceded twice in three outings.

Despite their slow start to the transfer window, United have started making solid acquisitions. Tyrell Malacia and Christian Eriksen have already arrived and an agreement has been reached with Ajax for the transfer of Lisandro Martinez.

ALSO READ: Ten Hag issues transfer message to board

However, although it is mostly rosy for Erik ten Hag, there are still some issues that need addressing sooner rather than later. MEN Sport has taken a look at five problems the Dutchman will be looking to resolve.

1) What to do about Cristiano Ronaldo
Talk before the United pre-season tour was dominated by the future of Cristiano Ronaldo. Last season’s top goalscorer has so far missed the preparations due to family reasons.

However, it is known that the Portuguese ace wishes to leave Old Trafford. In his absence, Anthony Martial has staked his claim to be the starting striker next season.

It would appear that most Champions League clubs would be unwilling to fork out for Ronaldo and with a year remaining on his deal, the only option would be for him to remain in Manchester. Whatever happens, Ten Hag needs answers.

2) What are the options if Frenkie de Jong does not sign?
United’s number one transfer target is Frenkie de Jong. Talks to bring the Dutchman to Old Trafford haven’t gone smoothly.

Having agreed a deal in principle with Barcelona, United’s hierarchy are now struggling to persuade De Jong to leave La Liga for the Premier League. With each passing day the new season edges closer and Ten Hag may need to start looking at other options.

With Juan Mata, Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic having all left the club, the midfield is more depleted than ever before. Eriksen’s arrival has helped but if De Jong cannot be convinced, United could start the season short in the centre.

3) Keeping both Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen happy
Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes are unlikely to be unable to play together in the same side. Their combined creativity and attacking prowess would be something to behold, but United do not have the defensive capabilities to go all out in every single fixture.

On the face of things, Fernandes would likely be the first choice. However, his Danish teammate has shown that he still has the ability to be a regular starter. Ten Hag will have to find a happy balance which keeps both players satisfied.

4) Who partners Lisandro Martinez?
Ten Hag is known to have pushed United to sign Martinez ahead of the scouting department’s pick of Pau Torres. That in itself shows that the Argentine may well be a regular at centre-back.

Who will partner him is less straightforward. Harry Maguire will be club captain again so it would seem that he would be the obvious choice to play alongside Martinez.

However, his performances have been at best inconsistent so Raphael Varane and Victor Lindelof may claim it should be them to start in the defence. The former Ajax boss has an interesting few weeks ahead of him as he decides who will line up to face Brighton in their Premier League opener.