Manchester United’s Ten Hag Anticipates January Boost with ‘New Signings’ Return

Manager Optimistic as Malacia, Martinez, Casemiro, Mount, and Maguire Set to Make Mid-January Comebacks

Manchester United’s manager, Erik ten Hag, has likened the imminent return of key players next month to securing “new signings” as the team gears up for the crucial run-in of the season.

Ten Hag anticipates the return of Tyrell Malacia, Lisandro Martinez, Casemiro, Mason Mount, and Harry Maguire in mid-January, providing a significant boost to the squad. Malacia, recovering from two knee surgeries since July, Martinez sidelined with a metatarsal problem, Casemiro nursing a hamstring injury since November 1, Mount with a recent calf injury, and Maguire, absent for the last three games due to a groin strain, are all expected to bolster the team’s performance.

Expressing his optimism, Ten Hag stated, “When the players return, and with luck on our side regarding injuries, we essentially have five or six new signings in January for the challenges ahead.”

However, the team is also preparing for the absence of goalkeeper Andre Onana, set to miss up to six games due to his call-up for the Africa Cup of Nations with Cameroon. Onana, who returned to the squad in September after a nine-month exile, was initially signed under the assumption that his international career had concluded after a dispute during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

In Onana’s absence, the spotlight may turn to summer signing Altay Bayindir, who is yet to make his debut for the club. The upcoming FA Cup third-round tie against League One Wigan on January 8 could see Bayindir stepping into the goal, while the Premier League campaign resumes against Tottenham at Old Trafford on January 14.

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Manchester United, accustomed to preparing for matches with three goalkeepers, might see Bayindir in action alongside the usual choices, including Tom Heaton.

Additionally, Ten Hag addressed uncertainties surrounding the contracts of players entering the final six months of their existing deals, including Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof, Hannibal Mejbri, and Anthony Martial. While United has the option to extend these deals by a year, sources suggest Martial might be released if not sold next month, allowing the quintet to explore pre-contract agreements with overseas clubs in January.

Ten Hag concluded, “We are in discussions with the players and their agents. This is an internal process between us, the club, and the players, and updates will be provided when available.” He also confirmed that Anthony Martial is currently unavailable due to illness.

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