Manchester United’s latest cup exit has made it even more clear who the Glazers should target to come in as their next permanent manager.
Ralf Rangnick may well have put himself out of the running to take on the United job this summer after the embarrassing FA Cup exit at the hands of Middlesbrough on Friday.
The German head coach had steadied the ship somewhat at Old Trafford after coming in to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on an interim basis.
Apart from disappointing results in the league against Newcastle, Wolves and Aston Villa, United had enjoyed an upturn in from before the winter break.
Back-to-back wins over Brentford and West Ham helped move them up to fourth in the table.
But the FA Cup presented arguably United’s only real chance of silverware this season and they failed in worrying fashion.
Rangnick went with a full strength line-up against the Championship side, United appeared disjointed at times with players guilty of not playing as a collective.
Managing the big-name players at Old Trafford has been a problem for several managers ever since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer splashed big money on bringing in Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane last summer.
But, while Ronaldo continues to find the net on a regular basis, the team as a whole has looked fragmented and disconnected on too many occasions.
Now two months into the job, Rangnick doesn’t appear to have found a solution to the growing problem.
And United will need someone to come in this summer capable of overseeing major changes at the club.
Given United’s issues of a fractured unit, a manager who has a proven track record of building a strong foundation will be key.
Erik ten Hag therefore could well be the obvious answer for United officials in the summer based on his success at Ajax.
The Dutch side have had to deal with all their best players being sold over the years, but Ten Hag hasn’t allowed that to lead to a dip in performances.
Instead, Ten Hag has worked his magic in the transfer market, signing players who are under-valued elsewhere and turning them into superstars.
Sebastian Haller is the perfect example given how the striker performed during his ill-fated spell at West Ham.
Now, Haller leads the charts as the Champions League top scorer with a sensational 10 goals ahead of the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Mohamed Salah.
Dusan Tadic is another who has been transformed under Ten Hag’s guideship while Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong, Hakim Ziyech and Donny van de Beek were all nurtured under the Akax boss.
He’s someone players clearly trust and have a strong working relationship – something United have been crying out for in the years since Ferguson retired.