Erik ten Hag claims Manchester United HAD to spend £170M to fight for the top four as the Dutchman reveals the club upped their budget to compete with Premier League rivals
- Erik ten Hag reveals Manchester United adjusted their budget in the summer
- Dutch boss says the change in the market meant the club had to keep up
- The Man Utd boss believes the club had to spend to match their top four rivals
- United have spent £170m since losing their opening two games of the season
The arrival of winger Antony from Ajax for £85.5million will see United's outlay since losing their opening two matches of the season pass £170m.
Casemiro quickly joined from Real Madrid and United are now ready to eclipse their summer spending record as Antony reunites with his old manager and becomes the club's second most expensive player of all time.
Erik ten Hag says Manchester United were forced to enhance their budget this summer
Manchester United's latest recruit will be the £84.4 million signing of Antony from Ajax
Ten Hag insisted there was always significant money at his disposal but admitted that United's budget had grown in recent weeks. The previous collective Premier League spending record of £1.5billion was broken last week.
'They made adaptations because of how the market (was) and I think the club did that well,' the Dutchman said. 'If you want to compete at the top, you don't have a choice. All the clubs spent this kind of money.
'If you want to fight for the top four positions, you have to do it. We have the ambition, especially in the long term, to play for trophies. We had to do this.
'All the top clubs spent a lot of money in the summer. That is how the market has developed. I can't do anything about it. Nobody can, it's the market, we have to accept it.
The Red Devils have splashed out £170million since losing their first two games of the season
'Last season, the benchmark was only five transfers above £60m and I don't know how many it is now. More parties are involved, there are many factors that make it complicated.'
Chelsea, a key rival in the battle for Champions League qualification, have committed to a major overhaul of Thomas Tuchel's squad and could end up spending nearly £300m should a move for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang come off.
United can edge two points clear of Chelsea tonight if they win at Leicester.
Antony will not be available, but Ten Hag confirmed that he envisages the 22-year-old eventually playing off the right and believes that he has the 'fighting spirit' to succeed at Old Trafford.
United's rivals have spent big this summer, including Chelsea's over £200million outlay
His signing offers the United boss strength in depth in attack as they embark on a hectic schedule, while Ten Hag is adamant Cristiano Ronaldo is receptive to his style of play after having 'several' talks with the 37-year-old. Ronaldo wanted to leave in search of Champions League football but is set to remain in Manchester.
'From the start we said we planned with him,' Ten Hag added. 'We are happy with him, he's happy to be here and we want to make the season a success together.
'We are all on one page. He knows what the demands are. He will fit in because… I don't have to explain. He's a great player. He will fit in every system or every style. You can see in training that it is clear he has the capabilities.'
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