Erik ten Hag may be spared a difficult decision in the second half of the season after a report claimed a LaLiga side plan to rescue a struggling Man Utd star.
The Dutch manager is quietly going about his business at Manchester United and has already shown he has the stomach to make difficult decisions.
Ten Hag’s handling of Cristiano Ronaldo has earned the respect of the Man Utd squad at large. Ten Hag was on board with banishing the Portuguese icon from the squad to face Chelsea last weekend following his refusal to come on as a substitute against Tottenham.
Ronaldo has since come back in from the cold and scored against Sheriff Tiraspol on Thursday night. However, few would bet against Ten Hag sticking to his guns and axing Ronaldo from the starting line-up against West Ham on Sunday.
Elsewhere, Ten Hag faces a big decision on the future of fellow countryman, Donny van de Beek.
Ten Hag’s arrival was anticipated in some quarters to be a big boost for the midfielder. Van de Beek’s career has stalled since arriving from Ajax for £35m in 2020.
Yet he is a player Ten Hag knows well and the reunion was viewed as a potential lifeline to Van de Beek.
The United boss previously kept the door open when outlining what Van de Beek must do to feature more prominently in his plans.
“He is now here for two-and-a-half years. He had pre-season, that was quite okay, then his chances will come,” said Ten Hag earlier in October.
“When he came on against Brighton, he came on as a sub and did very well, but you have to be available and, when you are not available, you cannot get a place in the first XI.
“Now he has to make sure he gets fit and fights for his position.”
Van de Beek saw action from the bench on Thursday night, though faces an uphill struggle to feature more regularly.
With Casemiro, Scott McTominay, Fred, Christian Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes all blocking his path to minutes in central areas, the jury is out on whether he has a future at Old Trafford.
Leaving him on the bench or out of the matchday squads entirely would be a bitter pill to swallow for Ten Hag. However, according to SportsMole, he may be spared that dilemma.
Citing the Spanish press, it’s claimed Valencia are ready to end Van de Beek’s Man Utd nightmare in January.
Their manager, Gennaro Gattuso, wants at least two new arrivals at the Metsalla in winter and Van de Beek is in his sights.
A loan deal would be favoured, though per the report, the terms won’t be to United’s liking. It’s claimed a deal will be difficult to pull off unless United agree to cover part of the Dutchman’s salary.
Van de Beek has also drawn links with a move closer to home in January, to Leicester City.
SportsMole also put Inter Milan in the frame, meaning even if one avenue closes up, Ten Hag may yet be spared a difficult decision on Van de Beek’s minutes in 2023.
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