Ten Hag prepared to sacrifice Man Utd favourite in January ‘overhaul’; Thuram incoming?

Joe Williams
Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag
Erik ten Hag during a pre-match press conference.

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is willing to sell Tyrell Malacia in the January transfer window, according to reports.

Ten Hag has found his second season in charge at Old Trafford much trickier than his first with Man Utd crashing out of Europe and the League Cup before Christmas.

Their 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich saw them finish bottom of their Champions League group, while a 3-0 loss to Bournemouth a few days before means they are currently sixth in the Premier League.

Those results have seen pressure build on Ten Hag’s position at the club but a report today has claimed that the Man Utd boss is ‘confident’ he will get time to try and impress incoming Sir Jim Ratcliffe with his plan for the future.

There has been speculation that Man Utd are willing to get rid of some of their high earners with Casemiro, Raphael Varane, Christian Eriksen, Anthony Martial, Jadon Sancho and Donny van de Beek all reportedly up for sale.

And The Sun has added Ten Hag favourite Malacia to the list of players the Man Utd boss ‘would be willing to offload to start the overhaul of the squad’.

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Ten Hag brought Malacia in from Feyenoord in his first transfer window as manager, with the Netherlands international making 39 appearances in all competitions during his first season.

The 24-year-old is yet to play a game this season after going under the knife for a knee injury with the left-back now targeting a return in the new year.

Man Utd will also be looking for incomings and Sport Bild journalist Christian Falk reckons the Red Devils could move for Khephren Thuram and Jean-Clair Todibo once Sir Jim Ratcliffe completes a deal to buy 25 per cent of the Premier League club.

Falk wrote in his Caught Offside column: “Khephren Thuram is again attracting transfer rumours and speculation ahead of January, with Liverpool and Newcastle being mentioned as suitors, but I can’t see anything happening in the middle of the season – certainly not while Nice are as competitive as they are.

“It’s been a surprisingly strong campaign from Nice so far, they’re not in mid-table as they have been in some years gone by, so the plan for now is to try to keep hold of Thuram, as well as Jean-Clair Todibo, who has been linked with Manchester United and others.

“For now, I see Thuram and Todibo seeing out the season and seeing how far this team can go under Francesco Farioli. It looks like they might be starting to drop off a bit after a strong start, with PSG opening up a bit more of a lead at the top of Ligue 1.

“One thing that is well worth keeping an eye on, however, is the situation at Manchester United with Sir Jim Ratcliffe coming in, and what that might mean for Nice’s short-to-long-term future. It remains to be seen if Ratcliffe has a path to majority ownership at United, so it’s possibly going to become a significant conflict of interest, which might mean Nice coming into new ownership.

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“Once Sir Jim and his people are through the door at Old Trafford, even if it’s just a minority stake initially, they probably will want to bring through the best sporting elements from Nice, and that may well include players like Thuram. That’s worth considering as well as the well-established interest in Todibo.

“Liverpool and Newcastle have also been linked with Thuram – we’ve certainly seen Newcastle raid Ligue 1 a few times to good effect in recent times, most notably with Bruno Guimaraes when he joined from Lyon in January 2022, but that was a very different situation because Lyon were not in a strong position, whereas Nice now are near the top of the table and aiming for potential European qualification. That makes it a harder sell.

“Thuram will certainly be of interest to clubs in the Premier League and elsewhere in Europe this January, but I think the most likely development for him will come in the summer. For one thing, he needs stability now more than ever because he wants to be part of the French national team for Euro 2024 in the summer, so he can’t risk adapting to a new club or a new league when he’s really on the fringes of Didier Deschamps’ side.

“I think it makes sense for both the player and the club to stay together for the rest of the season. I think it’s one to watch for the summer, when there should also be a bit more clarity about the future of the Nice ownership as well.”