Erik ten Hag is the new favourite to become Manchester United’s new manager – and the Ajax boss has already indicated he wants to work abroad.
According to Manchester Evening News Ten Hag is now United’s preferred candidate to take over at Old Trafford this summer. The Dutchman has been in competition with Mauricio Pochettino as the two frontrunners for the job since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking back in November.
As things stand, United have not made a final decision as they continue with their process. The club though still intend on making their appointment before the end of the season ahead of what will be a pivotal summer.
With Ralf Rangnick set to move into a consultancy position and a raft of players looking set to leave the club, United’s new manager will face a huge task after what has been a dismal season for the club. The club though look to have identified their preferred man for the job.
Ten Hag has been coy about his future over the past few months. When the first suggestions of the United job arose, the 52-year-old firmly pushed the questions back.
“I live in the present, so I find it hard to answer this,” Ten Hag told ESPN back in November. “I always want to improve my team, and as long as I feel this motivation I want to keep going, if Ajax wants that too.
“I am happy at Ajax. I can work there in a good way. The conditions and the climate are good. Good management and very nice staff, and not to forget I have a very good group of players, which is also flexible.”
In recent weeks though, Ten Hag looks to have changed his tune. The Ajax boss has been outspoken about his feelings since Marc Overmars’ departure as director of football in Amsterdam, and has shown some frustration with goings-on at the club.
“The lifespan of our team has always been short in recent years,” He said this week. “I understood – and still understand – the sale of players. But you can hardly cope with such bloodletting if you want to continue to play a significant role in the Champions League.”
His biggest hint that he is ready for a new challenge though came back in December. With United rumours building, Ten Hag indicated that he might be open to taking the job.
“I think I’m ready for it [coaching abroad]. I would be happy to take up that challenge,” Ten Hag said to de Volkskrant in December.
“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.”