Tottenham Hotspur are set to meet with Erik ten Hag over their managerial vacancy in the coming days…
That’s according to The Guardian’s Fabrizio Romano, who claimed that the 51-year-old Ajax boss is interested in listening to what Daniel Levy and the club have to offer, and he could be after a new challenge after winning everything domestically in the Netherlands.
The Dutchman has quickly emerged as a front-runner for the Spurs job after mooted number one target Julian Nagelsmann was confirmed as Bayern Munich’s next head coach, subsequently handing a huge blow to the north London outfit.
Spurs must now push ahead with Ten Hag as he fits the bill of everything that Levy is seeking. The Guardian also believe that the Lilywhites chairman is seeking an ‘attack-minded’ coach to replace Jose Mourinho – he is ‘keen for the replacement to be modern in outlook and have strong credentials in the development of young players.’
That profile would not be too different to that of Mauricio Pochettino, and Ten Hag certainly falls into this bracket too. Whilst amassing plenty of silverware and a 73% win rate in Amsterdam, the former Bayern Munich B coach has gained a reputation for developing Ajax’s young stars from an early age.
They are all but confirmed as this season’s Eredivisie champions and they have done so with an average squad age of just 24.3. By comparison, Spurs’ average is 27 (fourth-oldest in the top flight) and no league minutes have been given to a single player under the age of 21 this term.
Big-name players such as Frankie de Jong, Donny van de Beek and. Matthijs de Ligt have all gone onto earn the Dutch giants hefty profit in the transfer market, only showing how quickly they emerged as potential first team stars from the Ajax academy.
He has said: “I learned a lot from Guardiola. 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.”
The 51-year-old utilises a similar 4-2-3-1 formation to that of Pochettino, too, and they both favour a high-pressing, high-intensity and attacking style of play.
“When we lose the ball, we must win it back immediately,” Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana told AFP (via Planet Football) in May 2019. “He is focused on that, he is always telling us that if we have control of the ball, we have the ability to push back any opponent.”
He has also received glowing praise from Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, who said back in December: “Erik [ten Hag] is rightly regarded as one of the most exciting coaching talents in world football at the moment because of the work he does with Ajax.”
It is thought that the Dutchman is affordable in terms of compensation as he will enter the final year of his contract this summer, unlike another one of Levy’s targets in Brendan Rodgers, who would cost Spurs in excess of £70m to prise away from Leicester City.
Spurs can forget about Rodgers and should push ahead to land Ten Hag this summer.