Man United have ‘opened talks’ with two top target for next manager

Manchester United have opened talks with both Mauricio Pochettino and Erik ten Hag over the permanent manager’s position at the club, a reliable source claims.

Current manager Ralf Rangnick was hired on an interim basis until the end of the season and is expected to be involved in the decision over who replaces him.

United’s director of football John Murtough confirmed this week during the quarterly investor calls that the search for the new boss had begun and according to The Athletic’s Laurie Whitwell, the two frontrunner have already been sounded out.

‘Now, with a shortlist drawn up, contact is being made with relevant intermediaries to establish interest and potential costs,’ Whitwell claims.

‘United are also understood to have met with candidates and are believed to be working towards making a decision in the next few weeks.

‘They do not want to wait until the summer for the appointment as they would like the new man to be fully involved in constructing the squad for next season and beyond.

‘Conversations have been held over Mauricio Pochettino and Erik ten Hag. It is believed there is dialogue regarding other managers too.

‘As with player transfers, it is anticipated United will pursue various options before arrowing in on one preferred candidate.’

The reporter then goes on to explain that a shortlist including Ernesto Valverde, Rudi Garcia and Lucien Favre was drawn up for the interim post ultimately given to Rangnick. He states that none of those will be considered.

‘That was a tailored situation and United now want a younger manager to guide the club for several years,’ he said, suggesting that 63-year-old Rangnick himself will not be considered on a permanent basis.

‘It is said that a positive finish would strengthen his hand for offering advice,’ the reporter says, further hinting that the German is not on the shortlist.

‘[His] status at the club could be shaped by results on the pitch in these remaining three months of the season.’