Man Utd board’s conclusion as John Murtough holds crunch transfer talks after Brighton

Man Utd v Brighton: Match in pictures

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Manchester United have now realised they’re four or five players short after John Murtough held transfer talks in the wake of Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to Brighton, it has been claimed. The Red Devils have recruited Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez so far this summer. But they clearly need more fresh faces if they’re to qualify for the Champions League next season.

Manchester United have backed Ten Hag with the deals for Malacia, Eriksen and Martinez.

But it’s apparent the club require more fresh faces, particularly after they were played off the pitch by Brighton in Sunday’s chastening Premier League opener.

United had gone into that fixture confident of claiming all three points, especially after a productive season under Erik ten Hag.

Yet they were powerless to prevent themselves from losing to Brighton, with Graham Potter’s side superior in every department as they claimed all three points.

According to journalist Dean Jones, United’s recruitment team and board met for crunch talks in the wake of the result.

And it’s stated there’s a ‘complete realisation’ they need more signings in order to avoid a repeat of last season’s shambles under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.

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“I think the time has come when United have to panic,” he told GiveMeSport.

“You can’t watch that game against Brighton and not panic.

“I know that there were discussions after that game between the recruitment staff and people on the board and there’s a complete realisation now that this squad is probably four, maybe even five players short if they’re going to actually back Ten Hag and give him the opportunity to succeed.”

United have moved to make more signings after the Brighton defeat.

Though Frenkie de Jong remains their No 1 midfield target, the Red Devils are hoping to bring in Adrien Rabiot from Juventus.

The France international has been deemed surplus to requirements over in Turin, particularly following the arrivals of Paul Pogba and Denis Zakaria in recent months.

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And though United believe a fee for the player will be straightforward, they have to agree personal terms with his agent and mother, Veronique.

Rabiot’s mother only wants to talk to United chief Murtough, rather than intermediaries.

And though his signing won’t placate fans who are growing increasingly disgruntled, he’ll still represent an upgrade on the likes of Scott McTominay and Fred.

Up top, United are also pushing for a controversial deal for Bologna hitman Marko Arnautovic.

The Austria international is familiar to Ten Hag, having previously worked under the 52-year-old at FC Twente.

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United have already seen one bid for the former Stoke and West Ham striker turned down by their Serie A counterparts.

But that won’t deter them from making a second offer.

And Ten Hag is hoping Arnautovic can provide cover for the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Anthony Martial, who are his main attackers over at Old Trafford.

Speaking after the Brighton defeat, meanwhile, Ten Hag admitted he had a ‘hell of a job’ on his hands.

“It is a hell of a job [before us] – we have to work really hard, analyse and then move forward,” he said.

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“Today was a good start and then after that we dropped down a level in belief and we made mistakes that the opponent punished.

“But it was a good opponent, we [tried to] work well together but when you make mistakes you get punished for that.”

And he added: “I knew it could happen but I think we should have done better – that is clear.

“But I know also it [improvement] will not come overnight. At times we played better in pre-season.

“Today we had a really bad period in the first half and we have to learn from that.”

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