Erik ten Hag will try to get two Dutchmen to assist him as Manchester United manager – including Ajax coach Mitchell van der Gaag and one particularly familiar face – according to a report.
It looks as if Ten Hag will be the man to succeed Ralf Rangnick in the Old Trafford hotseat. The current Ajax manager is believed to be primed to take charge of the club in the summer. It would be his first job in English football.
Ten Hag has outranked Mauricio Pochettino on the Manchester United shortlist. As such, it now seems that all that is missing for him to take the new role is an official announcement.
Interim manager Rangnick does not know if the deal is done for Ten Hag to take his place. However, various reports are indicating it is just about there.
There will be a major rebuild required for Man Utd in the summer. Various high-profile signings have not worked out in recent years, so Ten Hag would inherit a squad he may need to reconstruct.
First of all, though, he will need to decide on his backroom staff. According to the Daily Mirror, he already knows two men he wants to work with.
The report claims Ten Hag wants to continue his working relationship with Mitchell van der Gaag, who currently serves as his assistant manager for Ajax.
Van der Gaag, 50, played for the likes of PSV and Motherwell during his playing career. He retired in 2007 and embarked on a coaching career the following year.
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He has managerial experience himself, including in the Eredivisie. But he became part of the Ajax setup in 2019 as manager of their reserves and then went on to become Ten Hag’s assistant last June.
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Now, he looks set to follow his superior to Manchester. In turn, it means Steve McClaren is unlikely to become an assistant at United instead, despite recent links.
Yet there will still be space for more coaching staff in the Ten Hag regime. The Mirror remind that another person who could join the staff is Robin van Persie.
The former striker played for Man Utd between 2012 and 2015, winning one Premier League title. His playing career ended in 2019 and he became an coach at Feyenoord in 2020.
Still working through his badges, van Persie is said to be open to working in the Premier League again. It would depend on his family circumstances, though; his two children are developing their own athletic careers – in football and show jumping respectively – in the Netherlands.
At present, he has not made a decision over whether he would like to take up Ten Hag’s offer.