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Daily Mirror

5 free agents Erik ten Hag could target with Man Utd summer transfer budget in question

Erik ten Hag will need to hit the ground running when he replaces Ralf Rangnick at Manchester United this summer.

The Ajax boss was appointed as United’s permanent First Team Manager last month and will be tasked with rebuilding a squad miles away from their Premier League rivals. In the past two months the Red Devils have suffered chastening defeats to Liverpool and Manchester City, fell out of contention for the top four and ensured they will record their lowest ever Premier League points tally.

That latest humiliation came following a sobering 4-0 defeat to Brighton and put into focus just how much Ten Hag will need to do in order to overhaul the playing squad at Old Trafford. Rangnick previously suggested they will need as many as 10 new players through the door in order to be competitive again.

That kind of rebuild won’t come cheap however, with conflicting reports over the kind of war chest the Dutchman will be handed in his first summer window. The Sun have reported that United are ready to explore the worldwide markets of free agents, to help complement some of their more high-profile signings.

And while Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe is well out of their reach, there is still a rich array of talent who will soon be out of contract. Mirror Football takes a look at five players United could sign, without dipping into Ten Hag’s much-needed summer budget.

Paulo Dybala - Juventus

The Argentina international is a name perennially linked with a move to Old Trafford and it’s no different this summer, with Dybala’s Juventus contract set to expire in a matter of weeks.

The 28-year-old can play across the forward line and has a good scoring record, having chopped in with 15 in all competitions this season.

United will have a number of rivals in the race for Dybala however, with both Milan clubs said to be monitoring his situation, as well as Borussia Dortmund possibly seeing him as a replacement for Manchester City-bound Erling Haaland.

Christian Eriksen - Brentford

The return of Christian Eriksen to top-flight football has been one of the stories of the season and his performances with Brentford have shown the 30-year-old still has plenty to offer.

Having now fully recovered from the cardiac arrest he suffered last summer, the Dane now has to make a decision on whether he will stay with the Bees beyond the end of this season. United have been touted as a potential suitor, while a return to Tottenham could be on the cards.

Boubacar Kamara - Marseille

With Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic both set to depart, the need for a central midfielder is crystal clear. Kamara can play in a variety of positions and his game is based around being defensively solid, something which has been sorely lacking in recent seasons.

Kamara has already confirmed he will be leaving the Stade Velodrome at the end of the season, with Aston Villa another team said to be in the mix for his signature. It is understood Steven Gerrard made the trip to France to watch him in person and so United may need to act quickly.

Alessio Romagnoli - AC Milan

United may have landed Raphael Varane last summer, but the need for reinforcements at centre-back remain pressing. Romagnoli fits the bill, with the Milan skipper’s contractual situation still up in the air.

Lazio have been heavily linked with the 27-year-old and there is still a chance he could remain at the San Siro. But Ten Hag may see the Italian as a perfect target to not only bolster the squad, but push for a starting berth.

Corentin Tolisso - Bayern Munich

Tolisso's time at Bayern has punctuated by recurring injury problems (AFP via Getty Images)

The Frenchman is out of contract at the end of the season and has already admitted: “I don’t know if I’ll stay.” Bayern are hoping to convince him to stay, but with interest from Serie A, La Liga and Premier League it could prove tricky.

Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said.: “I sat down with him and we had a lot of talks with each other. We have to see how the situation will develop and how our financial situation is. We know what he’s thinking and he knows what we’re thinking,”

Tolisso has failed to ever establish himself at the Allianz having emerged as one of the most exciting midfielders in Europe during his time at Lyon. At 27, Tolisso still has plenty of miles left on the clock and could help plug the gaping hole in United’s midfield.