Man UTD boss Ralf Rangnick after Watford draw
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Manchester United have reportedly made contact with Ajax boss Erik ten Hag as they ponder their managerial options for next season. The Dutchman has spent the last five years working in Amsterdam, helping his side re-establish themselves as European giants once again. And a potential move to Old Trafford seems to be on the cards.
Manchester United brought the axe crashing down on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in November, shortly after a dreadful 4-1 defeat to Watford.
They were then linked with Ten Hag and Mauricio Pochettino in the immediate aftermath of that decision but, in the end, hired Ralf Rangnick instead.
Rangnick was placed on charge on an interim basis and the 63-year-old isn’t expected to be given the job permanently, despite steading the ship.
On Thursday, Jonathan Shrager tweeted that United had ‘made contact’ with Ten Hag to find out his current situation.
Widespread reports have suggested the 52-year-old has his ‘heart set’ on a move to Old Trafford, especially given Marc Overmars’ recent Ajax departure.
And, if United do hire him, he’ll become their second-ever Dutch manager.
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The first was Louis van Gaal, who was hired back in the summer of 2014 following the dismissal of David Moyes.
Van Gaal arrived with a big reputation having done well with the Netherlands international, Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich during his career.
And he was also given huge transfer backing with the likes of Angel Di Maria, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Radamel Falcao and Ander Herrera all joining during his spell.
Van Gaal failed to live up to expectations, however, despite steering the club to FA Cup glory in 2016.
Yet Ten Hag made it clear what he thought about his compatriot when speaking last year after Van Gaal was linked with a return to his role as Netherlands boss.
He said at the time: “I think the choice for Louis van Gaal is more than excellent.
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“Let’s hope that Louis is open to it and wants to do the job.
“That is important for Dutch football, because it is really necessary that things are whipped up.
“It is good that someone will take the lead there who has proven himself, can create a top sports climate, who is a team builder and can win.
“And all with appealing football. Louis has proven that in the past. Let’s hope he accepts the job.”
Van Gaal did end up taking the job with the Netherlands.
And, if Ten Hag moves to United, he’ll be looking to better his compatriot’s record at Old Trafford.
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He will also be looking to learn from the turbulent stints of Moyes, Jose Mourinho and Solskjaer as well.
And whether United do ultimately hire him remains to be seen.
Speaking in 2019, meanwhile, Van Gaal took aim at Ed Woodward for the way he was treated by United prior to his dismissal three years previously.
“At Bayern, the people in charge are football men,” he said.
“I always appreciated that.
“At Manchester United, on the other hand, Ed Woodward was installed as CEO – somebody with zero understanding of football who was previously an investment banker.
“It cannot be a good thing when a club is run solely from a commercially-driven perspective.
“I don’t hold it against the club. They wanted Mourinho and he was on the market.”
He added: “Appointing Mourinho was obviously interesting from a business point of view.
“He wins games. And for a club like United, the main thing is to win trophies.
“How they are won isn’t the main priority, the English fans see it differently. They accept that the game is not all about attacking but it is also about defending.
“I always tried to defend high up the pitch, to be in the opposition’s half and play the game there.”
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