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Manchester United prepare to splash the cash to back manager Erik ten Hag

PSV Eindhoven's Cody Gakpo, Atletico Madrid's Joao Felix and West Ham midfielder Declan Rice are all on their wanted list.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag before the UEFA Europa League Group E match at Old Trafford, Manchester. Picture date: Thursday October 27, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nigel French/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.© PA

Kevin PalmerSunday World

ERIK ten Hag has been given the green light to splash the cash at Manchester United - with Cristiano Ronaldo's exit set to bolster his cash kitty.

United chiefs are delighted with the progress Ten Hag has made in his first few months as United boss, with his side looking to cement their top four credentials in today's game against West Ham.

Now it has emerged that they are ready to back Ten Hag with big-money signings in January and several options are on the table for United.

PSV Eindhoven's Cody Gakpo, Atletico Madrid's Joao Felix, Ajax star Edson Alvarez and West Ham midfielder Declan Rice are all on their wanted list, with fresh investment in players also planned for next summer.

Handed the reins following a wretched 2021-22 campaign at Old Trafford, the team has made clear progress on and off the field since the meticulous Dutchman took charge in the summer.

There have been some bumps in the road but United have also recorded wins over Liverpool, Tottenham and table-topping Arsenal, leaving them sixth heading into Sunday’s home game against West Ham.

Goals are a problem for United as they have scored just 16 goals in their opening 11 Premier League matches – one fewer than Manchester City star Erling Haaland’s individual haul.

“To develop the team takes time,” said Ten Hag. “You can’t go from zero to 100.

“You have to construct it from downstairs – you need the fundament before you go to the top, to the roof.

“Unfortunately it takes time and I don’t have time. I’m really the most impatient, but I have to (be patient). It’s quite clear.

“Now, I think we’re getting better in defending with 11. I think players are more and more aware of it, that we have to do it with 11. Also our build-up, I think we’re improving from game to game.

“So, now we have to do also more on developing our attacking game but also that’s the most difficult part so it takes even more time.

“But you can’t increase the tempo of that process. I want it but we have to take the time for it.”

United’s top scorer in all competition is Marcus Rashford on six goals, with four players then sat on three apiece.

Martial is among that quartet despite managing to feature in only four games in an injury-impacted season.

“I hope (he can play before the World Cup) but he’s making progress,” Ten Hag said.

“He’s outside, he’s working there. He’s on the pitch so we are waiting for his step back in team training.

“He had a setback as he fell out against Everton with his back. He’s had some injuries. It was really frustrating for us but also for him. We’ve seen he played good in pre-season.

“He’s had less minutes but he’s scored already three goals. Against Everton, he had an important role with the first goal, his assist for Antony.

“It would be really good to have him back because he can make the difference. He can score goals, but also linking up he’s really important and the pressing from him is really good.”

Ronaldo is set to be on the bench for United once against West Ham today, with Old Trafford chiefs ready to allow the Portuguese star to leave on a free transfer in January.

The door may also be open for United captain Harry Maguire to leave the club in January if a suitable offer is received.

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