Erik ten Hag’s transfer priority revealed after missing out on Darwin Núñez

Manchester United's manager, Erik ten Hag, pulls out of the race for Benfica's Striker, Darwin Nunez, shifting focus to other key areas on the pitch

Benfica's striker, Darwin Núñez

Manchester United are on the verge of missing out on primary striker target Darwin Núñez after months of talks with the agent of the Uruguay player.

The Old Trafford faithful, who had made signing the gifted striker one of their many priorities, decided to drop out of the race after bitter rival Liverpool jumped in for the young talent.

Liverpool have taken the lead in the race for the 22-year-old after reaching a six-year verbal agreement with his agent and tabling €80m, Benfica’s asking price.

Manchester United’s decision to withdraw from the transfer due to the high asking price may be attributed to Erik ten Hag’s focus on his primary transfer priority.

Erik ten Hag's main transfer priority

Undoubtedly, Erik ten Hag has been browsing the transfer market for suitable players to help him kickstart his reign at Old Trafford. Still, the new Manchester United manager understands that there are key areas to prioritize this summer.

Upon his arrival, the 52-year-old identified his midfield, striking position, and defensive zone as areas to improve and has been working hard to see that happen after being linked with Ajax's defenders, Jurrien Timber, Frenkie de Jong, and Darwin Núñez.

Though the manager is pushing for these positions, he appears to prioritize a critical position over others. Ten Hag is down to a few first-team midfielders after the releasing Nemanja Matić, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, and Paul Pogba. The latter, the club failed to persuade to stay.

Having reviewed the club's poor midfield performances in the past years, Ten Hag prioritizes his midfield more than any other position.

Erik ten Hag's attention is turned to Barcelona's midfielder, Frenkie de Jong. Manchester United has been locked down in talks with De Jong's entourage in the past 4 weeks.

Erik ten Hag is only left with Fred, Scot McTominay, Donny van de Beek, and Bruno Fernandes as the first team midfielders.

Frenkie de Jong transfer talks with Manchester United

Ten Hag knows how difficult it would be for Manchester United to secure the signing of Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona with Manchester United not playing in the champions league.

Barcelona’s financial crisis has aided him in pushing for a transfer. After several discussions with his compatriot, the Premier League club launched a €60 million-plus €10 million in add-ons bid for the Dutch midfielder, which Barcelona rejected.

The Spanish club demands close to €85 million for Frenkie de Jong, who has four years left on his contract. Manchester United are looking for a solution to reach an agreement, but Barcelona seems unwilling to accept anything less than their demand for the midfielder.

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Erik ten Hag's midfield option

Having made boosting his midfielder a priority, Erik ten Hag could look for other options in case they fail to find an agreement for Frenkie de Jong.

Manchester United are reportedly considering the availability of Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Ruben Neves, who has previously been linked with the club.

With a market valuation of €40 million and English Premier League experience, Ruben Neves would be a bargain and a cheaper option than Frenkie De Jong.