Erik ten Hag refuses to discuss Jadon Sancho and in the dark over Manchester United takeover
The Dutchman is only focused on beating Sheffield United on Saturday.
The Red Devils have dominated the headlines in recent weeks for off-pitch matters, with Ineos founder Ratcliffe on the verge of buying a 25 per cent stake in the club that would see him take over control of sporting affairs from the Glazers.
A board meeting to discuss the offer – which is worth around £1.3billion – was held on Thursday, though the deal will still take some time to ratify.
There have been suggestions there could be significant upheaval behind the scenes as a result of Ratcliffe’s minority investment, with the petrochemicals billionaire keen to make his own hires which could include a new sporting director.
Despite the mounting speculation, Ten Hag says he has not had any discussions about looming changes at the club or Ratcliffe’s bid and insists his only focus is on beating Sheffield United on Saturday.
Asked if he had been told anything about Ratcliffe’s bid, Ten Hag told reports at his pre-match press conference on Friday: ‘No. So I’m not involved in this, others in the club are dealing with this.
‘I’m focusing on my team, focusing on the current block and the most important priority is the next game, it’s all about that.’
Another issue engulfing United is the future of Sancho, with the 23-year-old still exiled from the first team and training at the club’s academy facilities due to an ongoing row with his manager.
Ten Hag said Sancho’s training levels had not been at the level required to earn a spot in the matchday squad to face Arsenal at the start of September, an accusation the winger contested in a post on social media in which he accused his manager of making him a ‘scapegoat’.
Although Sancho has since deleted the post, Ten Hag will not welcome him back into the first-team setup until he has apologised publicly for questioning his manager – something the former Dortmund star is refusing to do.
It now looks increasingly likely that Sancho will be sold or loaned in the January transfer window but Ten Hag refused to be drawn on the matter at his press conference, saying only: ‘Everything has been said about him.’
In the absence of Sancho and others, Bruno Fernandes could be used on the right wing again at Brammal Lane and Ten Hag feels his skipper is well suited to the role.
‘As a squad, in periods of the season, you have to deal with certain situations like injuries, at full-back and right wing in last couple of games. We have to find solutions,’ said the Dutchman.
‘Bruno is a very good right winger as well, he has his freedom there, playing not typical but coming inside more, the 10 role and always you want to use a player like this, he’s a player that creates one of the most chances in all of the games.’
For more stories like this, check our sport page.