Man United transfer policy being guided by ‘no d***heads’ rule as chief Richard Arnold tries to ensure Erik ten Hag isn’t held back by troublemaker players as he bids to restore glory days to Old Trafford
- Manchester United recruited well in Erik ten Hag’s first summer as manager
- Chief executive Richard Arnold reportedly insisted on a ‘no d***heads’ policy
- United hierarchy want to ensure Ten Hag isn’t undermined by problem players
Manchester United’s recruitment ‘is being guided by a ‘no d***heads’ policy’ designed to avoid the dressing room friction that undermined Erik ten Hag’s predecessors.
Club chief executive Richard Arnold issued the edict to manager Ten Hag and football director John Murtough as they pursued transfer targets last summer.
Arnold was sick and tired of seeing progress on the field undermined by troublemakers who caused problems for bosses like Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.
Manchester United chief executive Richard Arnold insisted on a ‘no d***heads’ rule when it came to summer recruits so manager Erik ten Hag wasn’t undermined by problem players
United recruited well over the summer with Casemiro and Antony among their signings
The transfer policy has helped Erik ten Hag revive Manchester United’s fortunes on the pitch
According to the Daily Telegraph, Arnold was also central in convincing United’s American owners, the Glazer family, to spend around £75million more than the original budget for last summer.
However, it was also Arnold who reminded Ten Hag that overspend meant there wouldn’t be anything in the coffers for the January transfer window.
Ten Hag had been keen to sign PSV Eindhoven winger Cody Gakpo, who ended up moving to Liverpool for £44m.
An underachieving United team has been revived by the purchases of midfielder Casemiro from Real Madrid for £70m, defender Lisandro Martinez from Ajax for £57m, and left-back Tyrell Malacia from Feyenoord for £13m.
Ten Hag was privately pushing for funds to sign Cody Gakpo, who moved to Liverpool
Brazilian midfielder Casemiro, who cost £70m from Real Madrid, has proved an excellent buy
The free signing of midfielder Christian Eriksen has also proved an excellent decision, while Ten Hag still hopes to see more from winger Antony, who cost £85m from Ajax and took United well over budget for the summer.
His arrival took United’s spending above the £220m mark and meant they could only bring in striker Wout Weghorst on loan this month.
Ten Hag has already had to deal with challenges to his authority with Cristiano Ronaldo leaving the club by mutual consent in November after criticising the club and the manager in his bombshell Piers Morgan interview.
The Daily Telegraph report says Arnold ‘never inputted on football decisions’, leaving Ten Hag, Murtough and the club’s scouting team to drive recruitment.
Ten Hag had his authority challenged by Cristiano Ronaldo but emerged the stronger
United’s budget for the January window was restricted, with Wout Weghorst a loan signing
However, Arnold did want to understand why decisions had been made in order to convince the Glazers to part with their cash. He also told them: ‘No d***heads’ that would unsettle the dressing room.
Murtough and Ten Hag have been left free to handle the football side, with Arnold taking a very different approach to his predecessor Ed Woodward.
The result has been an upturn in United’s performance on the pitch after several years of underachievement.
Ten Hag’s side are currently fourth in the Premier League table and on track to return to the Champions League next season.
They are also into the fifth round of the FA Cup, where a home tie with West Ham awaits them next month. United take a 3-0 lead into the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.
United also face Barcelona in a two-legged UEFA Europa League last-16 tie in the weeks ahead.