Erik ten Hag in profile as Man Utd 'open talks' with Ajax boss
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Manchester United are picking new signings who fit into Erik ten Hag’s possession-based and high-pressing game, according to reports. The Ajax boss is presently ahead of Mauricio Pochettino, Luis Enrique and Mauricio Pochettino in the race to replace Ralf Rangnick at the end of the campaign. And the Red Devils, it seems, are making plans behind the scenes with the 52-year-old in mind.
United didn’t expect to be embarking on another managerial search this summer after giving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a fresh three-year contract last year.
However, the Red Devils are now looking for a new boss to take over from Rangnick as they plan for a brighter future.
All signs at currently pointing to Ten Hag landing the United job, with the Dutchman ready to leave Ajax for a new challenge elsewhere after five successful years in the Netherlands.
And The Telegraph say United have been targeting players who they feel would suit the possession-based and high-pressing game favoured by their managerial candidates.
That includes Ten Hag, who could land as many as five new players when the transfer window reopens.
United are likely to recruit a new back-up goalkeeper with current deputy Dean Henderson fed up at playing second fiddle to David De Gea.
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Henderson attracted interest from Newcastle during the January transfer window and Eddie Howe’s side may return for the England international the moment the season ends.
United are primed to target a new centre-back, with Harry Maguire inconsistent and Eric Bailly barely given a chance.
Borussia Dortmund’s Manuel Akanji is one player to have been mooted as a possible target, with the Switzerland international yet to pen a new contract at the Westfalenstadion.
And Ajax star Jurrien Timber has also been tipped to join as well.
In midfield, United have longstanding interest in West Ham’s Declan Rice – though the Hammers would demand over £150million to part ways with their prized asset.
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And, up top, it’s possible the Red Devils will pursue Antony and Harry Kane amid uncertainty over their futures at Ajax and Tottenham respectively.
United are said to be encountering complications, however, with potential signings eager to find out the identity of their new manager before deciding things.
As many as 12 players may leave United, too.
Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani and Jesse Lingard may all depart for free, with their respective contracts all due to expire.
And question marks are hanging over the heads of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Donny van de Beek as well.
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Ten Hag can expect big transfer backing at United if history is anything to go by, with the Red Devils previously giving new managers plenty of support – David Moyes aside.
Louis van Gaal was given the likes of Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao, Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw, Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo when he took over.
Jose Mourinho was provided with the signings of Bailly, Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan upon replacing Van Gaal in 2016.
And United spent big to land Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James during Solskjaer’s first summer at the helm.
Meanwhile, speaking recently, Jaap Stam praised the work Ten Hag has done over in the Netherlands.
However, he also warned his fellow Dutchman the job at Old Trafford won’t be straightforward.
“Ten Hag is doing very well at Ajax; he makes the team a difficult opponent for everyone in Europe and Holland,” he said.
“He is very good at showing the players what to do and also at improving individual players.
“At Ajax, he obviously has the finances to grow the team with young players.
“For him, Man United would be another thing compared to what he is experiencing in Holland. He has to take this step forward in his career.”
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