The Red Devils announced last Thursday that Ajax boss Ten Hag would be taking over at Old Trafford on a three-year deal – with the option for a fourth – and he is expected to make big changes at the club over the summer.
United have a host of players who are out of contract at the end of the season, including Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard, though there are others who may struggle to adapt to Ten Hag’s football.
The 52-year-old, who worked under Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich, plays a similar style of attacking, possession-based football to the Manchester City boss.
A key component to Guardiola’s football over the past decade has been the ball-playing characteristics of his goalkeepers, having had Manuel Neuer at Bayern and Ederson at the Etihad.
Ten Hag, similarly, has had Andre Onana at Ajax – a player who came through Barcelona’s academy – while Remko Pasveer, who has played 20 times in the Eredivisie this season, is also adept with the ball at his feet.
But De Gea is less assured with the ball and, according to ESPN, Ten Hag is concerned about the Spaniard’s suitability for his system given the integral role the goalkeeper plays in building play and passing out from the back.
Despite initially coming to England with a reputation for being a good passer, De Gea has gradually been usurped by a host of better ball-playing goalkeepers in the Premier League – though he has not always been helped by the style of play of the team.
This season, De Gea has averaged just 20.6 passes per game with 69% accuracy, which is way down on Pasveer’s 32 passes per game with 81% accuracy. Similarly, Ederson averages 26.8 passes per game with a massive 88% accuracy.
Despite the question marks over how well suited De Gea is for playing possession football and resisting opposition’s pressing, Ten Hag does not see it as being so big of an issue that it needs addressing this summer.
De Gea has got back to his best this season and is in contention for United’s Player of the Season award, with Ten Hag happy to continue with the 31-year-old between the sticks for now and address more pressing issues first.
With as many as 10 players being offloaded this summer, the club need to bolster their squad considerably and Ten Hag is eyeing a new striker, right winger, two central midfielders and defensive reinforcements.
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