Manchester United have suffered a potentially significant blow in their search for Ole Gunnar Solsjaer’s successor after it was revealed Ajax manager Erik ten Hag is set to stay put.
The 51-year-old tactician has been linked with the Old Trafford hot seat in recent weeks as the United hierarchy attempt to line up Solskjaer’s replacement.
However, well-known journalist and transfer expert Fabrizio Romano has provided an update on the situation, insisting that Ten Hag has no plans to leave Amsterdam and will respect his contract, which runs until the summer of 2023.
He tweeted: “Erik ten Hag plan’s still so clear. He wants to be respectful with Ajax and to fulfill his contract – his relationship with the board and Mark Overmars is great. #Ajax Manchester United appreciate him and he’s always been in the list – but still nothing advanced.”
News that Ten Hag now appears to be out of the running will surely leave large sections of the United fanbase feeling gutted, given his reputation and previous exploits with Ajax.
After taking charge of the capital club back in 2017, the Dutchman has guided de Godenzonen to two domestic doubles in both 2018/19 and 2020/21, reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League along the way.
But it’s not only Ten Hag’s medal collection that makes him such an exciting managerial prospect for United, it’s also his attacking and entertaining style of play that fits in with the Red Devils’ own philosophy.
He sticks almost exclusively to a 4-3-3 formation involving overlapping full-backs, inside forwards and either a false nine or a traditional centre-forward.
After working as Bayern Munch II’s boss during Pep Guardiola’s time in Bavaria, it’s clear he’s influenced by his possession-oriented style and focus on positional play, while his time in Germany has seen him become focussed on pressing from the front.
“I learned a lot from Guardiola,” Ten Hag said in February 2019 (as relayed by FourFourTwo).
“His philosophy is sensational, what he did in Barcelona, Bayern and now with Manchester City, that attacking and attractive style sees him win a lot. It’s this structure that I’ve tried to implement with Ajax.”
Therefore, United fans will be disappointed that Ten Hag won’t be taking over the reins at the Theatre of Dreams anytime soon, leaving the club’s chiefs to expand their search and explore different candidates.