Manchester United have reportedly identified Ajax manager Erik ten Hag as their preferred candidate to replace interim manager Erik ten Hag at the end of the season.
According to The Mirror, the Red Devils’ hierarchy have set their sights on the highly-rated 51-year-old as they continue to search for Rangnick’s long-term heir.
The report states that: “United have identified Ten Hag as the manager who can bring back the glory days – and the 51-year-old’s midweek admission that he is seeking a new challenge has opened the door for the Reds. Ten Hag ticks all the boxes.”
Ten Hag admitted in a recent interview that he believes he’s ready to take the next step in his career and take charge of a top club overseas after five successful seasons at the Johan Cruyff ArenA.
“I think I’m ready for it (to move to a top foreign club),” the Dutchman told de Volkskrant. “I would be happy to take up that challenge. But I’m not chasing it.
“If it turns out that that step will never come, I will not say that my coaching career has failed. But I think I have sufficient competencies to take on that challenge.”
With Ten Hag appearing to be open to the challenge of taking charge at United and the club’s chiefs now outlining him as their No.1 target, fans of the 20-time English champions will surely be buzzing.
The Mirror’s report states that Ajax’s perfect record of six victories in their Champions League group that contained Borussia Dortmund, Sporting Lisbon and Besiktas was a big factor in the thinking of the United chiefs.
It is the first time the Dutch giants have won their opening six games in Europe’s elite cup competition, including when they lifted the trophy in 1995, and their lofty status in the Eredivisie was also a factor.
Throughout his Ajax tenure, Ten Hag has claimed five major trophies while achieving a win ratio of 74%, but it’s perhaps his style of play and ability to develop young stars that has really caught the eye.
Former striker Pierre Van Hooijdonk highlighted exactly that, citing the raft of exciting talent to be produced under his tutelage in Amsterdam.
“What he is managing to do with such young players is remarkable,” former striker Van Hooijdonk told TV station NOS in May 2019 (as relayed by Planet Football).
“The likes of (Matthijs) De Ligt, (Frenkie) De Jong and (Donny) Van de Beek have only just come out of the academy and are already playing like veterans. Ten Hag deserves huge credit.”
Therefore, Ten Hag appears to be an ideal fit for United, and his prospective appointment next summer would surely be warmly welcomed by everyone associated with the club.