According to SkySport, Manchester United are close to finalizing a deal for Ajax boss Erik Ten Hag as their new manager. It is not a done deal yet, but the Dutchman’s camp has shown positive interest in the role, and negotiations are underway. The 52-year-old has a year left on his Ajax contract. His excellent relationship with the club and the fact that United legend Edwin van der Sar is Ajax’s Chief Executive means the Eredivisie club will not stand in his way.
Manchester United curated a four-man shortlist for the job in which the Dutchman was a part. The other targets were Paris Saint Germain’s Mauricio Pochettino, Sevilla’s Julen Lopetegui, and Spain’s Luis Enrique. There were also links to Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel, and Bayern Munich’s Julien Nagelsmann, but both were considered unattainable due to their commitment to their respective clubs.
Manchester United’s interest in Ten Hag comes as no surprise. He has always been admired at Old Trafford dating back to the 2018/19 campaign when his Ajax side stunned Real Madrid and Juventus in the knockout rounds of the Champions League. Mauricio Pochettino has been the only real rival for the job, but negotiating with Paris Saint-Germain would be different than dealing with Ajax. Ten Hag is a popular candidate, and so is Poch, but the former would be easier to secure on their four-man shortlist. However, according to football journalist Marcel van der Kraan, Ten Hag wants two guarantees. “One of the two guarantees Ten Hag wants is having a backroom staff which will fit him and Man Utd, and which will be good for him in terms of a total setup of changing the club’s philosophy and identity. He also wants guarantees with freedom on his management and players.”
Ajax has been helpful rather than obstructive, again pointing to Van der Sar’s influence. It is understood that Ten Hag’s compensation price is as low as 1.7 million pounds compared to the 15 million pounds they would have to pay for the Argentine.