Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag may have saved his job after cancelling two transfers


Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag may have saved his job by cancelling the transfers of Harry Maguire and Scott McTominay in the summer. Both aces were in the frame to leave Old Trafford but ultimately stayed put and have rewarded their manager with a string of fine performances in recent weeks.

Ten Hag rejected a £30million offer from West Ham in exchange for McTominay in the summer. And after the Hammers had agreed a similar fee to sign Maguire, Ten Hag allowed the England international to turn down the move in order to fight for his place at Old Trafford.

Both players were out of favour at the start of the campaign as Ten Hag named five aces he has brought to the club when United hosted Wolves in their Premier League opener. McTominay didn’t start any of his side’s first four league matches, with Maguire forced to wait until October to be handed a starting berth. But the Red Devils’ early season woes saw both players reinstated - and their return has coincided with an upturn in fortunes for Ten Hag’s side.

Maguire was fifth-choice centre-back at the start of the campaign but has now climbed above the likes of Raphael Varane and Victor Lindelof in Ten Hag’s pecking order. The 30-year-old has played the full 90 minutes in United’s last eight Premier League matches and was in inspired form once again on Wednesday evening as his team overcame Chelsea 2-1.

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McTominay was United’s hero against the Blues as he bagged his second brace of the season after already scoring twice against Brentford during a three-minute cameo appearance in October. The Scotland international lashed the ball in for the Red Devils’ opener before thumping a powerful header into the back of the net for the winner 20 minutes before the end. And he is now United’s top goal scorer in the Premier League this season with five strikes.

Ten Hag may have been fortunate that neither player left the club over the summer when they appeared to be surplus to requirements at Old Trafford. But he can certainly take some credit in helping the duo rediscover their top form. And the aces can continue to make the difference as the Red Devils attempt to break into the top four.

After the victory over Chelsea, Ten Hag said: “Scott came in the right positions and scored two great goals. We want him to play a little bit higher on the pitch. We want to reach him there. He has to make his runs in behind as he is strong on that. He has a good smell to come in the right moment in front of the goal. He is a very good finisher.”

And the Dutchman heaped praise on Maguire last month as he explained: “Harry Maguire is doing very well in this moment. As I always said with Harry, he can do the job and now he’s showing it.”

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