Manchester United set to finalise Erik ten Hag appointment

Manchester United appear to have found their man in Erik ten Hag as the club looks set to finalise his appointment as full-time manager.

According to ESPN, Manchester United are closing in on finalising Ajax Amsterdam boss Erik ten Hag as their new full-time manager ahead of the 2022/23 season.

The full-time managerial hot-seat was left vacant since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was relieved of his duties earlier in the season. Ralf Rangnick succeeded him as the interim boss and now looks set to hand over the reins to ten Hag.

One of Europe’s best up and coming coaches, the Dutchman has carved a real niche for himself during his stint at Ajax. He took over at Ajax in 2017 and has since led them to two Eredivisie titles, two KNVB Cups and one Johan Cruyff Shield.

Ajax are also leading the Eredivisie standings for the current campaign and will also face PSV Eindhoven in the KNVB Cup final later this season. Ten Hag could very well end his stint in the Netherlands with a bang and arrive at Old Trafford with his reputation further enhanced.

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - MAY 08: Erik Ten Hag, Manager of Ajax looks on ahead of the UEFA Champions League Semi Final second leg match between Ajax and Tottenham Hotspur at the Johan Cruyff Arena on May 08, 2019 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images )
Erik Ten Hag Manchester United-bound? (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images )

The 52-year-old was interviewed by the Red Devils last month and was one of four candidates for the job along with Mauricio Pochettino, Julien Lopetegui and Luis Enrique. Thomas Tuchel and Julian Nagelsmann were also in the reckoning but had no interest in moving to Manchester United.

Ten Hag appears to have made an impression and looks set to take over the reins at Old Trafford once the 2021/22 campaign comes to an end. The Dutchman has the blessings of both Manchester United chief executive Richard Arnold and joint-chairman Joel Glazer, with the latter making the final call.

Pochettino was originally the club’s favoured choice to take over from Solskjaer. However, the Argentine’s struggles at Paris Saint-Germain and the financial investment required to secure his release from the final 12 months of his deal at Parc des Princes turned the tide against him.

It is fair to say that PSG’s exit from the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 also counted against the Argentine’s ambitions to move to the Theatre of Dreams. Ajax will be paid £1.7 million in compensation for ten Hag, a mere drop in the ocean given the £15 million PSG are seeking for Pochettino.

Former first-team coach Rene Meulensteen is in contention to join ten Hag as his assistant while former Manchester United assistant manager Steve McLaren is also in contention. Bringing in someone familiar with the club could help the Dutchman settle in and also manage his ambitions.

Manchester United are making the right decision in finalising their manager well ahead of the 2022/23 campaign. This will give ten Hag ample time to not just educate the squad about his philosophy but also revamp the roster to his liking.

The 52-year-old is a forward-thinking coach who not only knows how to build a winning team but also have them succeed while playing aesthetically pleasing football. Whether he will be the messiah that Manchester United seek to compete with Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola remains to be seen.

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