Erik ten Hag’s ‘crucial’ role in Man Utd transfer revealed after ‘excellent’ player ‘forced his exit’

Lewis Oldham
Man Utd duo Ten Hag and Casemiro

Fabrizio Romano is reporting that Erik ten Hag played a ‘crucial’ role as Man Utd tempted Casemiro into leaving Real Madrid last summer.

Ten Hag became United’s new head coach last year and one of his main priorities during last summer’s transfer window was to sign a new midfielder.

The Red Devils were heavily linked with FC Barcelona star Frenkie de Jong. The La Liga giants were open to making a deal happen but the Dutchman was unwilling to move on.

Man Utd persisted and wasted a fair bit of time pursuing De Jong, but they did end up looking elsewhere.

Casemiro was targeted as an alternative and this transfer came together pretty quickly just over a week before the summer window closed. It is understood that the fee for the 31-year-old could reach around €70m with add-ons.

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Some questioned whether United were wise to spend such a significant fee on a midfielder who was approaching the end of his career.

But Casemiro has quickly silenced his doubters this term as he has been nothing short of sensational for Man Utd this season. He was been one of the Premier League’s best players this term.

The Brazil international scored as United beat Newcastle 2-0 to win the Carabao Cup over the weekend. Romano has now reflected on how the midfielder’s to Old Trafford came about.

‘What a season Casemiro is having! Despite the pursuit of Frenkie de Jong and Adrien Rabiot earlier in the summer, Casemiro has always been on the list for Manchester United, but he wasn’t available in June or July,’ Romano wrote in his column for Caught Offside.

‘When the situation changed in August, Manchester United decided to proceed and Erik ten Hag was crucial as he spoke directly to the player. It was a difficult signing but an excellent one.

‘There was nothing concrete with other clubs, despite links with Chelsea.

‘Real Madrid wanted to keep the player, but when Manchester United called, Casemiro decided to accept and force his exit from him. He was not close to joining anyone else.’

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s Carabao Cup final at Wembley, United defender Phil Jones revealed that the club’s players “feed off” Casemiro.

“It’s the way he sets up those attacks. He has a calming effect on the lads. On the pitch, you can see everyone feeds off that,” Jones said over the weekend.

“He is very infectious and the way he leads and the way he plays his football you know. Everybody sees that and feeds off him.

“You can see how successful they have been when he’s been in the team.”

READ MORE: Ranking every midfielder Manchester United have signed since Sir Alex Ferguson retired: Casemiro comes in second