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Erik ten Hag’s dream Man United midfield could line up with £50m-rated Europa league winning midfielder



Erik ten Hag’s dream Man United midfield could line up with £50m-rated Europa league winning midfielder

The midfielder is being linked with Man United and other Premier League clubs after telling Atalanta he wishes to leave this summer

Tuen Koopmeiners has refused to close the door on an exit from Atalanta despite winning the Europa League, amid speculative links with Manchester United.

The Dutchman said in March that he wishes to leave Italy and pinpointed the Premier League as a destination he could look to move to. Liverpool and Chelsea have also been linked with the midfielder alongside United.

Koopmeiners, likely to be taken to Euro 2024 with the Netherlands, has scored 15 goals and registered seven assists in 49 appearances this season with two league games still to play. The 26-year-old, who still has three left on his deal, usually plays as an attacking midfielder.

Of course, captain Bruno Fernandes plays in the role, with Erik ten Hag tending to play two pivots. Koopmeiners can play deeper if required although just 12 of his 49 outings have come further back.

If signed by United, Koopmeiners could be tasked with being the go-between Fernandes and Kobbie Mainoo, although this system would leave the latter exposed. Mainoo has been brilliant this season but has looked vulnerable when left to fend on his own.

Koopmeiners could be directly asked to stay further back and sit to help the defence, but it is not his most natural position. Perhaps with Fernandes turning 30 in September, he will be tasked with sitting more often.

Koopmeiners did play in a deeper role in the Europa League final win over Bayer Leverkusen, ending their 51-game unbeaten streak, so he can be effective playing lower.

His creative output may be curtailed, though. In his 12 appearances in central midfield, he has scored twice and assisted once – a goal contribution every four games.

In attacking midfield he has 13 goals and six assists in 36 matches – a goal contribution every 2.16 matches, a massive ratio increase.

But with Fernandes present, the deeper role is likely what he would have to play in order to keep bodies in midfield.

The alternative is that Koopmeiners would be a bench player that becomes Fernandes’ protege and allows for more rotation.

Koopmeiners, if he leaves Atalanta, would be unlikely willing to play a bit-part role and, besides, Fernandes has never been one to want a rest

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