Manchester United are doing the right thing despite stunning Erik ten Hag
Erik ten Hag in profile as Man Utd 'open talks' with Ajax boss
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Manchester United have reportedly left Erik ten Hag stunned after not offering him a contract immediately after his interview. But the Red Devils are in the right when it comes to that matter, even if the Dutchman is their main target to take over. This, simply put, is an appointment the club can’t afford to get wrong.
Here we go again.
Nobody at Manchester United expected the club to be looking for a new manager back in the summer, when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was given a three-year extension having made solid progress in the role to date.
However, after a turbulent campaign, the Red Devils are now preparing for the commencement of yet another new era.
At the current moment in time, it’s Ajax boss Ten Hag who seems to be in pole position to replace interim boss Ralf Rangnick at the end of the campaign.
The Dutchman has enhanced his reputation during his five years in Amsterdam, winning two league titles despite continuously having to overhaul his squad.
Ajax have lost big names such as Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt and Donny van de Beek in recent years.
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Yet Ten Hag has continued to coax the best from his players, with Ajax now back among Europe’s elite once again.
On Saturday night, The Mirror published a report that revealed the Dutchman had been left stunned after United didn’t offer him a contract immediately after his interview.
But, by not being hasty, the Red Devils are doing the right thing.
This is an appointment they can’t get wrong. Liverpool and Manchester City are getting better and better, meaning there’s now no room for error whatsoever.
And Ten Hag isn’t the only manager United have under consideration. It’s even arguable he’s the biggest gamble of the lot, given he’s not previously managed a European giant outside of his home country.
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United plan on talking with Mauricio Pochettino, whose future at Paris Saint-Germain is up in the air following their recent elimination from the Champions League.
And it may just be that the Argentine presents a grand masterplan that swings the pendulum his way.
Pochettino, it cannot be forgotten, has been on United’s radar ever since his time with Southampton.
He was briefly considered to replace Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013, only for the Scot to end up picking David Moyes to be his successor instead.
Pochettino was then eyed to take over from Louis van Gaal in 2016 but, on that occasion, the availability of Jose Mourinho convinced the Glazers into hiring the current Roma boss.
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And United planned on appointing him as Mourinho’s replacement in December 2018 before Solskjaer got the job and exceeded expectations.
Pochettino is one of the best managers in world football, even if his time at PSG hasn’t worked out.
So it may just be that the 49-year-old ends up wowing Red Devils chiefs in his interview and sparking the board into giving him a go instead.
Likewise, Julen Lopetegui.
The Sevilla boss has rebuilt his reputation with the La Liga side, having previously struggled during his time as Real Madrid manager.
Lopetegui would be a gamble but he’s a shrewd tactician, as shown when Sevilla beat United in the Europa League in 2019.
So he, too, has the potential to produce a dossier that would blow United chiefs away.
If the Red Devils give Ten Hag a contract, without speaking to anybody else or learning about other candidates, they may end up regretting it.
Therefore, their decision to hold fire is the right one for the time being – allowing them to make sure this appointment is the right one.
And what happens is something only time, ultimately, will tell.
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