United’s Dutch boss spent around £211m last summer, as per Transfermarkt, with the forthcoming transfer expenditure showing little sign of slowing down, with a host of winter targets outlined.
And now, according to French outlet Media Foot, the Red Devils have been handed a major boost in their pursuit of a new right-back, with Olympique Lyonnais marauder Malo Gusto reportedly the centre of a looming transfer bid.
Diogo Dalot is unquestionably United’s first-choice option down the defensive right-flank, but with Aaron Wan-Bissaka both the only alternative option and far from trusted to play a regular role in Ten Hag’s plans – his start in the Carabao Cup against Burnley last week was only his second showing of the season – a fresh face could soon be deployed into the fold.
With the report stating that Man United could clinch a deal for the prodigious 19-year-old for €30m (£26m), the deal could well blossom into fruition in the coming weeks.
Due to his youth, Gusto could slowly integrate into the senior set-up, learning from Dalot – who followed a similar path after playing a largely peripheral role since his £19m move from FC Porto in 2018 – and serving as an understudy, hoping to impress when gifted inclusion.
The signs for his career trajectory are certainly promising; as per FBref, the talent ranks within the top 5% for passes attempted, the top 17% for rate of assists and the top 19% for interceptions, when compared to positional peers across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year.
And having made 14 appearances for Lyon in Ligue 1 this term, starting on each occasion, Gusto is already slotting the blocks into place, gaining valuable experience and nurturing his multi-faceted approach to his play.
Should Ten Hag get a deal over the line, he could gift the Theatre of Dreams with Antonio Valencia reborn, a new presence down the right with all the attributes necessary to flourish among eminent figures at one of football’s very greatest outfits.
Valencia signed for United for £16m from Wigan Athletic in 2009, a versatile and pacy player that captivated fans with his dogged mentality and persistence as both a winger and a right-back over his lengthy stay at Old Trafford.
Making 339 appearances for the Manchester side, the Ecuadorian scored 25 goals and made 62 more, winning a host of major honours such as two Premier League trophies, the FA Cup and the Europa League, and Gusto, who might just be something “special” – as praised by one statistical site – could emulate the feats of a past star at Man United.
Indeed, he is equally as creative and like the former Red Devil, possesses the tools to play as a right winger and further back in defence. It might not be the most eye-catching of deals but Valencia more than proved to be a reliable pair of hands. Gusto may well be the same.