Erik ten Hag reveals Manchester United attempted to sign Harry Kane last summer

Erik ten Hag has confirmed that Manchester United tried to sign Harry Kane in last summer’s transfer window.

United were in the market for a striker ahead of this season and The Athletic reported that Ten Hag wanted to test the waters for Kane, who was entering the final year of his contract at Tottenham Hotspur.

The England captain, however, went on to sign for Bayern Munich in a deal worth more than €100million (£86.4m, $110m). United instead secured the services of Rasmus Hojlund from Atalanta, with Dane scoring 14 goals across 38 appearances in all competitions this season.

Speaking to former United defender Gary Neville and Sky Sports, Ten Hag says he was happy United signed Hojlund but stressed that the 21-year-old needs time and should not be compared to Kane.

He said: “We have had some choices made with talents like Rasmus Hojlund. I can see a striker who already proved it, who we want to sign and we couldn’t get him. And then we went to Rasmus because he’s a talent.”

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United signed Hojlund last summer (Matt McNulty/Getty Images)

When asked if he meant Harry Kane, he added: “Yes, and you know Harry Kane will get you 30 goals. I think Rasmus will get there, but he needs time. It’s not fair to assess him the same as Harry Kane. I would never compare two players because they are very different.

“But with Hojlund, I think we had the biggest potential in the striker position last summer and we are very happy with him. But he also needs time to adapt and we are very pleased he showed his assets in scoring goals.

“He had a very good period where he scored many games after he showed it, but before and after, he had some physical issues, which is normal for a young player coming up. But it has a negative impact on the team result and that’s what you have to accept.”



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Ten Hag was also asked about his side’s style of play, with the 54-year-old coming under criticism in recent weeks for United’s inconsistent results despite reaching a second successive FA Cup final.

United have won just one of their last six Premier League matches and have dropped to sixth in the table. It is now mathematically impossible for them to qualify for the Champions League, as they are 13 points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa with four games remaining.

“We thought about this (playing defensively), but one of my objectives here was to bring in a proactive way of play,” he said.

“The players will return (from injury) so if you then adjust, go in a very defensive style and it doesn’t fit to the players we already have, then if you don’t get the results and everyone will lose the confidence.

“We improved our attacking game, we scored more goals and were more consistent… we are making improvements, but not enough.

“We know that, we know what it demands and what the standards are. We want to get back to wins so we have to make the next step. We have to get into a winning position and then bring it over the line.”



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(Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

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