Ten Hag right not to start Ronaldo but Dutchman’s body language is a worry and Arnautovic bid stinks of desperation

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In his tenth exclusive column for CaughtOffside, super-agent Rob Segal lifts the lid on what’s really going on in British football.


Erik ten Hag is under pressure at Manchester United already…

Erik ten Hag’s body language on Sunday looked like a rabbit caught in headlights.

What Saturday has shown is that Manchester United are not a quick fix. You just cannot fix the biggest football club in the world in the space of two months. Everybody, when talking about Manchester United, needs to reel it in a little bit.

In my opinion, they do have some really good individuals in place. John Murtough for example is a really good guy who has a lot of experience. Darren Fletcher is another that understands Manchester United inside out. However, although I don’t know too much about him, when it comes to CEO Richard Arnold meeting up with the fans for a pint in the pub, I don’t understand that. At the end of the day, he has a really important job to do, so go and do it, go and make those important decisions instead of sitting with fans in a boozer because they aren’t the ones who have been tasked with running the club and their opinions are purely based on results.

Man United CEO Richard Arnold.

As for this rebuild, for all the managers that are out there, if Man United are going to persist with ten Hag, it makes you wonder if, during times of dramatic change, they’d have been better off going with a proven pair of safe hands.

The thing that really bothers me with ten Hag is how he keeps going back to look at players from his old club Ajax. Of course managers like former players, but to be linked with virtually all of Ajax’s first-team squad is just too much and shows a real lack of planning.

Just because you’re a football club, it doesn’t automatically mean there is a long-term strategy in place and I think out of all the clubs, Manchester United are proving that more than anyone else.

Right not to start Cristiano Ronaldo against Brighton…

There is a lot of talk and criticism about ten Hag opting against starting Cristiano Ronaldo against Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday, but in all fairness, the manager didn’t have a choice.

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Even if Ronaldo wasn’t 37 years old, he has still missed the vast majority of his team’s pre-season, so to then start him in the first game of the new campaign was never going to happen. The same would be said for any player, not just Ronaldo.

Manchester United’s Marko Arnautovic bid stinks of desperation…

I could not believe it when I saw recent reports suggesting Manchester United have made a bid for Marko Arnautovic.

If any club does that kind of business, there is no way they can then come out and say ‘we have a long-term plan in place’.

Marko Arnautovic is wanted by Man United.

I just cannot work this one out and it’s hard not to feel sorry for the fans. One of their biggest rivals has just signed Erling Haaland and here Manchester United are, in the running for an average 33-year-old former Stoke City player. He is also proven to be a problematic player.

It just stinks of desperation.

More Stories Cristiano Ronaldo Erik ten Hag Marko Arnautovic Richard Arnold