Erik ten Hag has privately confessed he is ready to leave Ajax and accept a new challenge after holding talks with Manchester United, it has been claimed. The 52-year-old is in pole position to replace Ralf Rangnick at the end of the campaign. However, the likes of Mauricio Pochettino and Julen Lopetegui still can’t be ruled out at this current stage.
Manchester United are hoping to announce their next manager before the end of the season, with Rangnick not under consideration to permanently replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The Red Devils know they have a huge summer ahead as they seek an improved Premier League campaign, having struggled this term.
They will, once again, have no trophy to show for their efforts with their hopes of glory in the Premier League, Champions League, Carabao Cup and FA Cup already over.
At the current moment in time, all signs are pointing to United hiring Ten Hag after it emerged the 52-year-old had sat down for an interview with John Murtough and other members of their hierarchy.
And the Red Devils have now received a boost courtesy of comments made by Dutch journalist Geert Langendorff.
Speaking to the Stretford Paddock, he claimed that Ten Hag had already told ‘colleagues of mine’ that he’s ‘ready to leave and accept a new challenge’.
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That bodes well for United, who seemingly won’t have any problems when it comes to convincing him to leave Amsterdam behind.
Ten Hag would bring possession-based football to United, having learned plenty from Pep Guardiola during their time at Bayern Munich together.
And he could blood youth, too, with rising stars such as Anthony Elanga, Hannibal Mejbri and Shola Shoretire all knocking on the door of a first-team spot.
United aren’t the only team interested in appointing Ten Hag, however.
It’s emerged two other European giants are keen on the Dutchman, who has been at Ajax ever since December 2017.
One of them could be Real Madrid, with the future of Carlo Ancelotti currently uncertain.
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While Los Blancos are on course to win La Liga, failure to claim Champions League glory may see the axe fall on the Italian’s head.
Real have historically axed big name managers when they fail to win that competition and Florentino Perez, their club present, is trigger-happy by nature.
PSG, too, may be the other team interested in hiring Ten Hag.
It’s been another underwhelming campaign for the Ligue 1 giants who, despite having Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Lionel Messi at their disposal, are already out of the Champions League.
PSG boss Pochettino has been linked with the role at United, as well as the one at Real Madrid.
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And if the Argentine does end up leaving the Parc des Princes in the wake of their European failure, Ten Hag would be a good option to take over.
When it comes to United’s next manager, it is Joel Glazer who will ultimately have the final say.
While the likes of Murtough and Darren Fletcher are leading the process when it comes to earmarking their next boss, the owner of the Red Devils is the one who signs off on managerial appointments.
So whether Ten Hag meets Glazer’s criteria for the role is something only time will tell.
Dutch football expert Marcel van der Kraan, meanwhile, feels United may need to convince Ten Hag into taking over.
And that’s because of the failed stints of Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
“If Manchester United want to get things going, they will have to speed things up and make things concrete,” Van der Kraan told Sky Sports.
“They will have to put a contract out to him because I think there’s a real danger it could become too late for him.
“For Ten Hag, there may be the consideration of the graveyard Manchester United has been for managers.
“Not everything during his career has gone well for United when you see how Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have all failed and seen their reputations damaged.
“It needs some more convincing from United.”