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Man United target Harry Kane and Declan Rice with incoming manager Erik ten Hag set for transfer boost

Declan Rice: Manchester United target. Photo: PA Wire

James DuckerTelegraph Media Group Limited

Manchester United will make substantial funds available to Erik ten Hag this summer even if the club miss out on the Champions League this season.

United are facing a desperate battle to finish in the top four, with the club currently seventh in the Premier League, three points adrift of Tottenham as well as Arsenal, who also have a game in hand.

Failure to qualify for Europe’s premier club competition would hit United hard in the pocket but, even if those fears are realised, the club are determined to provide the new manager with the backing to start reshaping the squad.

It is understood there will also be the opportunity to reinvest money raised through sales, with around a dozen players facing uncertain futures. Five of those players are out of contract in the summer, including Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani and Jesse Lingard, and the potential departures of such figures would free up considerable space on the wage bill.

United are closing in on the appointment of Ten Hag, with negotiations said to be moving very quickly amid clear optimism from all parties that a deal will be concluded in the coming days for the Ajax coach. Insiders at Old Trafford say they have finalised shortlists of potential targets ready to formally present to the new manager once he is in place.

Harry Kane, Tottenham and England striker, and his international team-mate, Declan Rice, the West Ham defensive midfielder, are among the most ambitious and costly targets on United’s radar and there is an acceptance at the club that either deal could be very difficult to do.

John McGinn, the Aston Villa and Scotland midfielder, is another player of interest to United.

United tried and failed to sign Jude Bellingham from Birmingham City before the England midfielder instead opted to join Borussia Dortmund in 2020. But while United remain huge admirers of Bellingham, there is little expectation that Dortmund would be prepared to let him and striker Erling Haaland – a target for Manchester City and Real Madrid – leave in the summer unless an outlandish offer forced them into a decision over the player.

Ten Hag – once confirmed as is now expected – will also have the opportunity to recommend signings of his own. United are braced for that input amid recognition that the incoming manager may have some very specific ideas of his own on both ins and outs and will also want to review the squad closely.

A United source said: “We’re pretty clear on who we want and why and we’ve had conversations with them. When the manager is named it’s a conversation with them to say: ‘Here are our options and recommendations and these are the reasons why. We’ve done the work’.”

Ten Hag will have ideas of his own and it is possible he could look to take one of his Ajax players with him, although Bayern Munich are in pole position to sign the 19-year-old Ajax holding midfielder Ryan Gravenberch and are among a number of clubs interested in the right-back Noussair Mazraoui.

Anthony, the highly rated right-sided Brazil forward (22), is attracting interest from Premier League clubs and is greatly admired by Ten Hag although Ajax are hoping to keep him for another season

United are keeping an open mind and accept the situation is fluid and unexpected opportunities could also present themselves as the summer nears. There is, for example, still uncertainty at this stage about how the situation at Chelsea will unfold and what will happen under prospective new owners there.

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