When it comes to the issue of Manchester United’s next manager, it’s Erik ten Hag who appears to be leading the race. The Dutchman has worked wonders at Ajax over the past five years, winning two league titles throughout his reign. And trophies is exactly what the Red Devils need, with their last triumph coming back in 2017.
Late on Tuesday night it emerged United had held talks with Ten Hag as they plan for a brighter future.
It’s certainly been a chastening campaign so far, with the Red Devils off the race in the Premier League and failing to get anywhere near claiming trophies in the form of the Carabao Cup, FA Cup and Champions League.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was given big transfer backing in the summer, seeing John Murtough and Ed Woodward secure deals for Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Yet they remain a long way back when it comes to claiming titles, which is why the Red Devils board are now eyeing Ten Hag.
Throughout his time at Ajax, he’s been successful. Two Eredivisie crowns have been secured and a third may follow, while he’s also made them a force to be reckoned with in the Champions League once again.
United also admire Mauricio Pochettino, Julen Lopetegui and Luis Enrique, who are currently operating at Paris Saint-Germain, Sevilla and the Spain national team respectively.
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However, while that’s the intentions of the United board, Ten Hag has already planned the first change he’d make at Old Trafford.
It was revealed by the Daily Mail at the beginning of the month that the Dutchman was intending to bring compatriot Mitchel van der Gaag with him to England.
Van der Gang has worked alongside Ten Hag over in Amsterdam having previously been a player for the likes of PSV Eindhoven, Motherwell, Utrecht and Maritime.
He has coaching experience with FC Eindhoven, NAC, Ermis and Excelsior, too.
And he’s won a trophy as a manager in the past as well, guiding Belenenses to the Segunda Liga title back in 2013.
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Should van der Gaag move to United, it’s likely he’d replace Chris Armas – who has been assistant to Ralf Rangnick throughout their time at Old Trafford together.
It will mean yet another new coach for players to get accustomed to.
But with the board looking increasingly primed to give Ten Hag the job, that’s something the playing staff will have to live with.
Speaking earlier in the season, meanwhile, Ferdinand expressed a belief the Ajax boss would be good fit for his old side.
“Now I don’t know Ten Hag personally but he’s doing a fantastic job at Ajax. Let’s remember that Ajax isn’t a small club,” he said.
“They’re a massive club, the biggest club in Holland.
“Yes, it’s different and the landscape is different but it’s still a huge club that he’s got to work with and the expectation levels there every day are to win.
“That’s something that will be there every day and would be there if he was to come to Manchester United.
“Anyone who comes in, they’ve got to be able to deal with people.
“That’s the art of a fantastic manager.
“You’ve obviously got to get it right tactically but motivating people on a daily basis to produce the goods is a huge part of it.”