Louis Saha believes Erik ten Hag has been Manchester United’s ‘BEST signing’ of the summer
Louis Saha believes Erik ten Hag has been Manchester United’s most important signing this summer after an impressive preparation for the season, despite adding three stars to his new roster.
Saha praised the former Ajax manager’s start to his tenure at Old Trafford under difficult circumstances – with Cristiano Ronaldo digging his heels in an exit – and expressed confidence in the club’s prospects this season.
Having taken over the Red Devils’ seat at the start of the summer, Ten Hag has so far successfully negotiated the club’s pre-season tour with three wins and a draw, as well as bringing in Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez.
However, his unbeaten start at United came to an end against Atlético Madrid on Saturday.
Erik ten Hag’s start as manager of Manchester United has impressed ex-striker Louis Saha
Saha thinks the Dutch coach has been United’s best asset of the summer
“I think he has been United’s best signing so far,” Saha . said Sports postThanks to Put 365 . in. “The players were not in shape, but they seem to come back stronger and the team seems to be in balance.
“I would have loved to play under him because he seems very strong in what he believes, but at the same time he seems to really enjoy listening to players and helping them improve.
“We can see that players enjoy playing under him, but they still have to run hard, work really hard, but enjoy their football at the same time, so there’s a good balance.
‘Cristiano’ [Ronaldo] was the hard part, because you have to look for a replacement, but you also have to meet the demands of the player because he wants to leave or, or he is not happy with the guarantees he has been given.”
The Dutch manager has kept his mouth shut about the Portuguese international’s future at the club throughout preparation, stating only that the attacker is in his plans for the future and wants him to stay.
United’s summer was overshadowed by Cristiano Ronaldo’s demands to leave the club
The Portuguese star returned for United to host Rayo Vallecano on Sunday night
However, Ronaldo now appears to be looking to leave the club to play Champions League football next season, after crunch talks on Tuesday led him to reiterate his request to be released from his £360,000-a-week deal.
After missing out on pre-season with the club’s permission, he underwent medical tests and then trained on Wednesday before seeing his team-mates in a closed-door friendly against Wrexham.
Ronaldo then looked rusty in his first minutes of pre-season when United played Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Ten Hag is now in a position where he must either let his best player leave – a player who scored 24 goals last season – and give himself little time to find a replacement, or keep the rowdy player at Old Trafford .
But the former French striker is hopeful that he will play for the club next season, adding: “It is very difficult for a new manager to set standards for his players. Maybe he doesn’t want his squad to be disrupted every week by new stories about the greatest player on the squad.
United slipped to their first pre-season defeat to Atletico Madrid after three wins and a draw on their tour of Thailand and Australia
Joao Felix won the match with a late goal when United were under Ten Hag. slipped to their first loss
“It’s not easy because he’s a player who can still score 25-30 goals in a season, and he was pretty much alone last season when it came to the club’s responsibilities to score goals.
“If he’s in the plans for next year, I think they have a great opportunity to do great things.”
But for the number two of the 2006 World Cup, stability is the most important thing that Ten Hag can bring.
United’s greatest period of consistency in the era since the departure of Saha’s former boss Sir Alex Ferguson arguably fell under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and even then, Ole was permanently at the wheel for just 20 months.
But with a host of relatively untapped opportunities at the club, including Zidane Iqbal who has been so impressive in pre-season, it is this stability that will help young players thrive in the Ten Hag era.
Louis Saha scored 42 goals and assisted with 18 others in 124 appearances for Man United
Saha said, “It’s perhaps the most important because the actual job you have, the mission you have is very difficult because it’s so unstable.
“If you have a manager who gives you a clear indication of what he wants, that can really work for the long term, because he can tell you what’s going to work next week, or next month, and so on.
‘It’s so important to have that foundation if you want to develop. You can’t develop if you know that something can change every week, you can’t concentrate.’
Louis Saha was signed by Ferguson in January 2004 after a hugely impressive spell at Fulham, helping the Cottagers get promoted to the Premier League.
The Frenchman – who was part of France’s 2006 World Cup squad in Germany – scored 42 goals and assisted 18 times in 124 appearances for the Red Devils over four and a half years, winning two Premier Leagues, a League Cup, a Community Shield and the Champions League 2007–08.