Ajax manager Erik ten Hag’s dream move to Manchester United has reportedly been cast into doubt after it emerged that Old Trafford chiefs are reportedly not totally convinced with the Dutchman being their new boss. Ten Hag is expected to battle it out with Paris Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino for the upcoming vacant spot.
Ten Hag, 52, has revitalised Ajax in recent years after a poor spell over the last decade. The capital city side recorded four consecutive second-placed finishes from 2014-15 to 2017-18, slowly losing their grip as the Eredivisie’s most successful side.
Under Ten Hag’s spell, the club have lost just 14 league games since 2018, winning the title in both of his full seasons at the club. Yet after reports emerged that he had been interviewed for the United job, analysis over his career has been increasingly rife.
However, the Independent claim that despite talks going well, United chiefs still hold doubts over how successful the Dutchman will be. The report states that Ten Hag told United chiefs that the job is a five-year project during his interview, with a big shift being towards correcting the current physical conditioning training program.
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However, this did not 100% convince United chiefs that he was the right man for the job. Whilst he is still seen as the favourite, the publication claims that his interview impression is similar to the one that Tottenham chiefs felt last summer – feeling that Ten Hag was not totally ‘charismatic’ in comparison to Pochettino. United are also said to be conscious of the adaptation from the Eredivisie, where despite Ajax’s solid record this season where they have a 69 points from a possible 84, many have failed to make the leap in the past.
For instance, Frank de Boer famously joined Crystal Palace in 2017 ahead of the new Premier League season after winning four Eredivisie titles in six years at Ajax. But he was sacked after just four Premier League games after his style couldn’t be implemented at Selhurst Park – and United are wary of the transition from the Netherlands to England.
Having failed to ‘blow people away’ in the Old Trafford boardroom, another issue is whether Ten Hag would be able to keep some of the current playing squad. The 52-year-old argued United have been way off ‘Champions League shape’ for some time, and named a list of players ready for the step up, some who ply their trade at the Johan Cruyff Arena.
And after the struggles of Donny van de Beek and Memphis Depay, United would maintain due diligence on any future signings from the Eredivisie. The positive however is his cheap release clause; with a £4million buyout being preferred as opposed to Pochettino’s £25m fee.
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