Mount next: Erik ten Hag’s 9 most expensive signings & how they’ve fared
Erik ten Hag is doing his best to try and stamp his authority on Manchester United ahead of his second summer in charge of the club.
But with his ambitions being pegged back by financial difficulties and ownership uncertainty, it’s proving challenging for him to bring in his top targets. United have finally got underway this summer, though, with a £55million deal for Mason Mount expected to be closed imminently, pending a medical and announcement.
The Dutch coach came up at Ajax, where the club focuses on recruiting in a shrewd manner. That means the list of his most expensive signings can only grow from here, but currently makes for interesting viewing.
Before Mount slots into that list officially, we’ve taken a look at the current state of play.
9. Tyrell Malacia – £13million
Sneaking into the list is Malacia, who was the first signing Ten Hag made after being appointed United manager.
Add-ons could see the fee rise over time, but for a 23-year-old who made 39 appearances in all competitions in his first season, it’s looking like good business early on.
At such a low price, it’d be hard not for United to make some kind of profit or at least break even should they sell him down the line.
8. Edson Alvarez – £14million
Ajax parted with around $17million to snap up Mexican midfielder Alvarez from Club America in 2019.
Now 25, the versatile midfielder has contributed to two Eredivisie title wins and has attracted plenty of interest from clubs around Europe, including Premier League sides. If and when Ajax do decide to cash in, they’ll probably be able to sell the 25-year-old for a fee closer to £50million. Very good business.
7. Quincy Promes – £14million
It cost the Dutch side a little over £14million to sign Promes from Sevilla in the same summer they signed Alvarez.
In December 2020, he was detained in relation to a stabbing incident that had occurred that July and he was sold by Ajax in January 2021 to Spartak Moscow, for just €8.5million.
He was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment in June 2023 for aggravated assault as a result of the incident, with the Dutch prosecution service also beginning proceedings over drug trafficking.
An appeal is underway for the first incident, while a court date for August 2023 is in place for the second.
6. Daley Blind – £14million
After four years in Manchester, Blind returned to Ajax in 2018 for roughly the same fee they sold him for in 2014, albeit with potential add-ons tagged on the end.
He mutually terminated what was left of his four-year deal in December 2022 in order to sign for Bayern Munich on a free transfer.
5. Antony – £18.2million
Ten Hag put a lot of faith into 19-year-old Antony early on, earmarking him as Ajax’s next big star, when he agreed to the move in early 2020.
Antony headed to the Netherlands that summer and spent two successful years with the club before following Ten Hag to United.
4. Sebastien Haller – £20.25million
Two years on from becoming West Ham’s £45million record signing, the Irons decided to sell striker Haller having failed to find his feet at the club.
Ten Hag and Ajax saw an opportunity, though, snapping him up for just £20.25million in January 2021 and immediately turning him into a scoring machine once again.
Haller completely revived his career in the Netherlands, becoming the key cog in Ten Hag’s attack and scoring 47 times in 66 games before leaving to sign for Borussia Dortmund for £29million in 2022.
His time at the club was disrupted by Haller being diagnosed with testicular cancer, but he has since made a full recovery and returned to action.
3. Lisandro Martinez – £56.7million
Desperate to get United playing in a more progressive style, Ten Hag parted with a huge fee to reunite with his former Ajax defender who he signed for the first time in 2019.
Much was made of the decision to spend such a big sum of money on Martinez, who was criticised for his height before debuting.
However, the Argentine immediately proved a hit and finished the 2022-23 season as arguably United’s best performer, even after he sat out the final weeks of the season due to injury.
So happy to be here! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/Lejz1D04PO
— Lisandro Martinez (@LisandrMartinez) June 29, 2023
2. Casemiro – £60million
Having failed to land Frenkie de Jong, United used the money they had available to instead sign Casemiro.
With a different profile and an older player, there were reservations about the transfer with fans fearful that the Brazilian’s motivation for joining was financial. They couldn’t have been more wrong.
Casemiro was sensational in his first season for the most part, forming a partnership with Christian Eriksen. Suspensions proved a problem, and United won’t make the money back, but they’ll hope the transfer pays for itself through silverware.
1. Antony – £85million
Ten Hag relied on players he was familiar with in his first transfer window at United, evidently in order to shift their identity as quickly and effectively as possible.
Having already lost Martinez to United, Ajax held out for a monstrous fee for Antony – who by that point was regarded as their best player. United caved, though, with Ten Hag desperate to land the right-winger.