Ajax manager Erik ten Hag has emerged as the favourite to become Manchester United’s next permanent manager.
According to Manchester Evening News , the Dutchman is United’s preferred candidate to succeed Ralf Rangnick at the end of the season and lead the next chapter in the club’s history.
The 52-year-old has, like Paris Saint-Germain chief Mauricio Pochettino, been closely linked with the job for several months and is a popular choice amongst the fans.
Since landing the Ajax job back in December 2017, Ten Hag has done some stellar work at the Johan Cruyff Arena, firmly putting the Dutch giants back on the map. They have won two domestic league titles and excelled in the Champions League, particularly in 2018/19 when they reached the semi-finals.
Although managing a club of United’s stature would be a step up for the Dutchman, he has earned the opportunity to prove himself at the next level. He has achieved what he has at Ajax by playing good football and developing almost every player that he has worked with.
It is why, earlier this month, he was lavished with praise by Rangnick. The German was asked to issue an update on United’s search for his successor and was, as expected, asked to comment on links connecting Ten Hag with Old Trafford.
“I don’t know him, to start with, as a person,” Rangnick told Sky Sports.
“Obviously, I have seen the development at Ajax since he’s been there, I know a little bit about his work when he was with Bayern Munich and that he is one of the top coaches in Europe, that’s obvious, but there are a few other top coaches. As I said, we haven’t spoken about any new manager so far, therefore, we also didn’t speak about him.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has previously described Ten Hag as one of the ‘most exciting’ coaches in the world, making it clear that household names in football management are big admirers of the Dutchman. Klopp also explained how Ten Hag is a key part of the uniformed strategy that Ajax have in place.
Klopp, speaking back in December 2020, said: “Erik is rightly regarded as one of the most exciting coaching talents in world football at the moment because of the work he does with Ajax. Of course, it is a wonderful club – one of the stellar names of European football – but in this moment it is clear they have outstanding leadership of the organisation and Erik is a big part of that.
“They have had to adapt in recent seasons after losing a few players to rival clubs. I remember from my own experience at [Borussia] Dortmund how that feels and what a challenge it is.
“How they deal with it is exceptional. The foundations of the team remain solid and they have recruited well.
“They have a clear identity. I love watching them, I have to say.”