Ten Hag confirms ‘talks’ over Man Utd transfer and discusses Maguire plans after £30m exit collapses

News Desk
Erik ten Hag shouts at his team during a match.
Erik ten Hag shouts at his team during a match.

Erik ten Hag has confirmed that Manchester United are in ‘talks’ to sign Jonny Evans on a permanent basis even though Harry Maguire’s proposed exit has fallen through.

The 35-year-old defender penned a short-term deal to cover United’s pre-season fixtures but that contract has now expired.

Ten Hag has revealed that talks are still ongoing with former United academy product Evans, who watched his side’s 1-0 win over Wolves on Monday night from the director’s box at Old Trafford.

“In this moment, he is not (under contract) but we are talking,” Ten Hag said. “We will see. We are in talks and when we have news we will bring it.”

United’s pursuit of the Northern Ireland international, who left Old Trafford for West Brom in 2015 and became a free agent this summer when his contract with relegated Leicester expired, has continued even though Maguire now appears set to stay at the club.

United accepted a £30million offer from West Ham for their former captain last week, but that move stalled with Maguire wanting to stay and fight for his place.

Ten Hag offered the 30-year-old some encouragement when asked what he needed to do to get back into the side.

“I am happy he is here, we need a good squad,” the Dutchman said.

“We have four good centre halves and including Luke Shaw we have five, and we need it because we are going to play 50-60 games this season. All the players are internationals so we have a lot of load to cover.

“I am happy Harry Maguire is here. He is going to have to fight for his position as does everyone in the squad.

“He knows what I expect from him, what I expect from a centre-half. He can do it, he has the abilities to do it so now he has to show it. It is about character, to be convinced to play that role, he has all the abilities to do it.”

There was one concern in defence on Monday night with Lisandro Martinez forced off at half-time, replaced by Victor Lindelof, but the Argentinian has trained this week and Ten Hag expects him to be available for Saturday’s trip to Tottenham.

United have spent big this summer to sign England midfielder Mason Mount, Denmark striker Rasmus Hojlund and Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana.

Ten Hag said he was happy with how his squad now looks, but did not rule out further moves in the final weeks of the transfer window.

“Our squad is covered, all the positions are covered, but of course we are Manchester United, we are always looking for improvement…” he said. “With this squad I am convinced we can go for our targets.”

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This week United issued a club statement regarding the internal investigation into Mason Greenwood, who has been suspended by United since January 30, 2022, over allegations relating to a young woman after images and videos were posted online.

Greenwood was facing charges including attempted rape and assault until the Crown Prosecution Service announced six months ago that the case had been discontinued.

Following reports that United are preparing to bring the academy graduate back into the first-team set-up, the club statement said no decision had yet been made.

The issue has divided a number of fans, with some protests against Greenwood’s potential return seen at Old Trafford on Monday night.

Ten Hag said the issue was not affecting him or his team with the season now under way.

“We focus on the way of playing, we focus on the team performance. It is about the players who are available so we focus on Tottenham,” he said. “Every start to the season is difficult.

“We know the performance (against Wolves) was not what we hoped but we won. We showed the character and the personality.”

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