Tyrell Malacia becomes first Man Utd summer signing; left-back joins in £14.7m deal from Feyenoord after attracting interest from Lyon; Erik ten Hag has heavily scouted the 22-year-old, who shares an agency with Frenkie de Jong; Malacia fits the profile Ten Hag wants at Old Trafford
Wednesday 6 July 2022 06:13, UK
Tyrell Malacia has become the first signing of Erik ten Hag's Manchester United reign after the left-back completed a £14.7m move from Feyenoord.
The 22-year-old has signed a four-year contract at Old Trafford, with the option to extend for a further year.
United agreed a package with the Eredivisie side last week worth around an initial £13m, with a further £1.7m in add-ons and a potential sell-on clause.
United accelerated their interest in the Netherlands international in an attempt to beat off competition from French club Lyon.
Malacia is a talent Ten Hag knows well, having heavily scouted him as Ajax head coach. He fits the profile of player the Dutchman wants at Old Trafford and the manager believes he will specifically improve United in transition phases.
Malacia appeals to Ten Hag given his speed, positional awareness, high interception rate, and ability to attack space.
There is credence at Carrington that he has the tools to become an elite full-back and can develop into precisely that under the 52-year-old's guidance.
The club were measured in pursuing this deal, waiting for Feyenoord to set a price with Lyon first before acting on interest so they were not over-quoted a valuation.
It is a clear strategy also reflected in their move for Arsenal target Lisandro Martinez, who has told Ajax he wants to leave this summer to play in the Premier League.
Malacia shares an agency - HCM Sports Management - with Frenkie de Jong; the club's premier target this summer. The same agency also represents Donny van de Beek and Victor Lindelof.
Speaking about his move to United, Malacia told the club's official website: "It's an incredible feeling to have joined Manchester United. This is a new chapter for me, a new league with new team-mates and a tremendous manager [Erik ten Hag] leading us.
"I know from playing against his teams in the Eredivisie, the qualities that he has and what he demands of his players.
"Whilst I know that I am still young and will continue to develop, I can promise the United fans that I will leave everything on the pitch every time I pull on the red shirt. I'll always be thankful to Feyenoord for all they have given to me and my family.
"None of this would be possible if it wasn't for them. Now I'm ready to focus on the future with United, and help my new club achieve success."
Meanwhile, Manchester United football director John Murtough said: "Tyrell is an exciting, dynamic young footballer with excellent experience for his age, including five seasons in the Eredivisie, a European final and full international honours for the Netherlands.
"We look forward to seeing him continue to develop under the guidance of Erik ten Hag and his coaching team in the years ahead."
Sky Sports News' senior reporter Melissa Reddy:
"Manchester United fans have waited a while for this first signing of the Erik ten Hag era but the full-back is someone the manager knows very well. He scouted him quite heavily while he was at Ajax and United were quite smart and measured in how they took their time in waiting for Lyon and Feyenoord to agree a fee so they weren't over-quoted a price.
"Ten Hag feels Malacia will help United's transitional game as he's quite a rapid player with positional awareness and is very technically gifted. Malacia is schooled in Total Football so he's comfortable in possession and solid out of it. United believe he is so far away from his ceiling and that he can really develop under Ten Hag.
"The player himself knows he's coming to a gigantic club with lots of pressures and expectations but he knows about the manager's demands."
Malacia's signing comes after Cristiano Ronaldo informed the club he wants to leave this summer in order to play Champions League football amid concern from the Portugal forward at United's lack of transfer activity this summer.
But the signing of Malacia could soon be followed by the arrival of Christian Eriksen after the Denmark international agreed in principle to join United on a free transfer.
The future of Ronaldo though remains unclear, with United unsure whether the 37-year-old will fly out with the team on Friday for their pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia.
Ronaldo was absent for pre-season training on Monday morning, but it is understood his absence from training was due to family reasons, with United accepting this explanation.
United's position on Ronaldo remains that he has a year remaining on his contract and is not for sale, despite his desire to quit Old Trafford.
With Malacia's move confirmed, United may now consider offers for left-back Alex Telles.
Telles has two years left on his contract and United have the option to extend for a further year.
United will also discuss Brandon Williams' immediate future. All parties will discuss whether his development is best served by staying at the club - or going out on loan to get regular football.
Williams made 26 Premier League appearances on loan at Norwich City last season.
Sky Sports News reporter Anton Toloui:
"This is an interesting one, left-back is where Man United are well stacked. There's not necessarily a most desperate need for them.
"One person I speak to say he's the best left-back in the Eredivisie. Malacia is rapid, quick and loves to get forward. You see lots of flashy recovery tackles which look great but also worries me, when a defender has to go back.
"He puts in so much yardage, he's keen to get involved in the play going forwards which is what Man United fans want to see. I can see why there's interest from United as such a dynamic player can change the way you attack."
Sky Sports football journalist Sam Blitz:
"Erik Ten Hag was known for his attacking philosophy at Ajax with some slick passing - Malacia fits the bill in these two areas of the pitch.
"Going forwards, the 22-year-old completed more shots and take-ons than any other defender in the Eredivisie last season.
"The Netherlands international is comfortable on the ball too. Only Ajax's Daley Blind touched the ball more times and completed more final third passes than Malacia out of all the Eredivisie defenders. Malacia's six completed through balls is also a divisional high for defenders in the Dutch top flight.
"And all this attacking play is backed up by some solidity at the back. No Eredivisie-based left-back completed more tackles than the 22-year-old last season, while only title-winning Blind managed to take the ball off opponents more times in the middle and attacking third than Malacia."
Erik ten Hag's first Premier League game as Manchester United manager will be against Brighton at Old Trafford, live on Sky Sports, on the opening Super Sunday of the 2022/23 season.
After facing Graham Potter's Seagulls on Sunday, August 7, live on Sky Sports, United travel to Brentford in the second round of fixtures before hosting rivals Liverpool in a blockbuster early-season clash on August 22, live on Sky Sports.
United's trip to the Etihad Stadium for the first Manchester derby of the season on October 1 kicks off a daunting month which sees Ten Hag's side travel to Everton and Chelsea and host Tottenham, Newcastle and West Ham.
The final game before the season pauses for the winter World Cup will be against Fulham on the weekend of November 12/13. United then return to action on Boxing Day at home to Nottingham Forest.
2023 will be ushered in by a home match against promoted Bournemouth. Premier League champions Manchester City are next up at Old Trafford on January 14, the return trip to Anfield on March 4, while United conclude their season at home to Fulham on May 28.