November 28, 2023

Erik ten Hag’s new norms for Man United academy graduates

Erik ten Hag's new norms for Man United academy graduates

Erik ten Hag’s new norms for Man United academy graduates

With one week remaining in the summer transfer window, it is worthwhile to contemplate how many more young players will leave Old Trafford for good.

Erik ten Hag is establishing new benchmarks for Manchester United’s academy, which is renowned due to the club’s record of more than 4,200 consecutive first-team matches with a graduate in the lineup.

Marcus Rashford is a mainstay, Alejandro Garnacho is a burgeoning talent, and Scott McTominay is set to remain beyond the end of the transfer window, but Ten Hag has made it plain that you have to be good enough to make the first-team squad. There will be no complimentary items distributed.

It is reasonable to question the pipeline’s recent effectiveness. Rashford is the most successful student, while others have struggled. United acquired Garnacho from Atletico Madrid when he was only 16 years old, despite the fact that he appears to be a player with immense potential. Mason Greenwood was on the verge of becoming a star, but he is now set to leave United before next Friday, shattering his ambition.

Greenwood’s departure from the academy was one that Ten Hag did not want to occur, but elsewhere he has been ruthless. Thursday marked the completion of Noam Emeran’s transfer to Dutch club FC Groningen, making him the twelfth youngster to depart on a permanent basis in the past two summers.

Martin Svidersky, Dylan Levitt, Tahith Chong, and, most surprisingly, James Garner were all publicly flogged in 2013. 

There was some surprise this year when Zidane Iqbal and Ethan Laird were sold to Utrecht and Birmingham, respectively, but these were players who needed regular playing time and were not strong enough to make Ten Hag’s squad at this time.

Bjorn Hardley, Charlie Savage, Anthony Elanga, Matej Kovar, and Ondrej Mastny have also been sold this year. 

With a week remaining in the window, it is conceivable that more will follow.

In the next week, the futures of two 20-year-olds will be evaluated, and both have recently been extolled as having what it takes to succeed at United. 

Hannibal Mejbri was signed for a fee increasing to €10 million as a 16-year-old, but despite a promising preseason, he could be sold to Borussia Dortmund.

Left rear Alvaro Fernandez had a productive loan stint with Championship side Preston last season, but with Tyrell Malacia and Luke Shaw ahead of him, it seems likely that he will depart for another club. 

United has also received interest in a permanent transfer, and any loan agreement could include an option to purchase.

The departure of Hannibal could be contingent on the status of other midfielders. Real Sociedad has lost interest in Donny van de Beek, which could make the sale of Hannibal more attractive.

 Ten Hag would make another ruthless academy decision.

This is a manager who is eager to promote youth. At Ajax, he was instrumental in the development of Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie De Jong, and at United, he has provided Garnacho with numerous opportunities.

However, these three athletes are destined for outstanding careers in the sport. The philosophy of Ten Hag appears to be that if you are excellent enough, you are old enough. However, you must first be sufficiently qualified.

Erik ten Hag’s new norms for Man United academy graduates

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