Man Utd duo ringleaders of ‘dissent’ towards Ten Hag as one star ‘expected’ £100m transfer

Joe Williams
Man Utd duo Casemiro and Raphael Varane with Harry Kane
Casemiro was upset that the Red Devils failed to sign Harry Kane.

Man Utd duo Casemiro and Raphael Varane ‘became dissenting voices’ towards Erik ten Hag after Cristiano Ronaldo ’emboldened’ them to disagree with the manager, according to reports.

It was revealed earlier this week that the Red Devils have decided to stick with Ten Hag as manager despite rumours they were on the verge of sacking the Dutchman.

A report emerged ahead of the FA Cup final insisting that Ten Hag would lose his job at Old Trafford even if he beat arch-rivals Man City in the showpiece event at Wembley.

Man Utd, who shocked City to win the FA Cup, have even reportedly talked to other candidates over potentially replacing Ten Hag since beating Pep Guardiola’s side – but they finally decided to put their faith in the former Ajax boss.

There have been murmurs of discontent at Old Trafford this season with Man Utd finishing eighth in the table, while Ten Hag fell out with Jadon Sancho.

Ten Hag has had to deal with a number of difficult situations during his two seasons at the club with Ronaldo pushing to leave the Premier League club for Saudi Arabia in 2022.

Ronaldo had issues with the way Man Utd played under Ten Hag as he felt he wasn’t being utilised in the best possible way and ‘cracks his resistance had caused remained, with other players gradually emboldened to disagree with their manager’.

The Athletic pinpointed Casemiro and Varane as ringleaders in showing dissent towards Ten Hag:

‘Casemiro and Raphael Varane spoke to team-mates about the similar approaches taken by Carlo Ancelotti and Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid, which gave players more freedom and greater agency on workload, and how Ten Hag’s positional style of football was not to their taste.

‘They were told by staff that Madrid is a completely different club to United and La Liga a slower competition with less strength in depth than the Premier League, so those same liberal techniques would not work. But Casemiro and Varane, having won multiple titles, had strong feelings and became dissenting voices.’

Casemiro – who Man Utd forked out £70m on in 2022 – had other issues too with the Brazilian complaining about lengthy muscle injuries.

The Athletic added:

‘Casemiro also questioned why he suffered muscle injuries this season given he had never experienced such problems before. His only previous muscle injury lasted six days, but Casemiro was out for more than two months with a hamstring issue in the autumn and he came close to sustaining a rupture in March before the FA Cup tie with Liverpool despite tailoring his training as per instructions.

‘Supported by United’s medical team, he decided against playing as soon as he felt a tightness in training and, after the match, he also ran the scans past Brazil’s national team doctor, making the call to stay home rather than join up.

‘The issue reared its head again on FA Cup final day when Casemiro withdrew from his place on the bench, citing hamstring discomfort once the teamsheets had been handed in at Wembley.

‘Some people close to the team suspected an element of calculation on Casemiro’s part given Ten Hag had dropped him from the starting line-up after he had filled in at centre-back for seven successive games to help the club. There was consternation among players and staff about the timing of Casemiro reporting his problem.’

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Harry Kane was seen as a top target for Man Utd last summer with Tottenham asking for around £100m, although seemingly unlikely to sell to a divisional rival, but the England captain eventually joined Bayern Munich.

The Red Devils’ failure to pursue Kane was another thing which riled Casemiro, The Athletic continued:

‘Many in Ten Hag’s squad wanted and expected United to go for Kane so that the team could, in their minds, be transformed into title challengers. Casemiro was known to feel that having come third, with 75 points, adding a proven scorer of Kane’s quality would have lifted United’s aspirations significantly.

‘He had been told when signing that United intended to make additions to compete at the top of the Premier League and gave the impression he was disappointed that, having done his bit, the recruits last summer did not marry up to that proposed ambition. He was not alone in that thinking and the attitude in camp suffered as a consequence.’