Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd exit fears grow for Ten Hag as Richard Keys reveals astonishing reason Tuchel rejected job

Thomas Tuchel rejected the Manchester United job with Erik ten Hag staying on as manager

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag and, inset, Thomas Tuchel

Erik ten Hag is far from certain that he will sign a new deal as Manchester United manager after criticising the way Sir Jim Ratcliffe handled the back him or sack him saga over his future – while Richard Keys has lifted the lid on the real reason why Thomas Tuchel rejected the job.

The Red Devils endured a thoroughly-bumpy 2023/24 campaign that suffered the depths of a worst-ever Premier League finish in eighth, while the club also crashed out of the Champions League in humiliating fashion, having lost four of their six group games. But Manchester United did end the season on a high note in recording a 2-1 victory over Manchester City in the FA Cup final to lift their second piece of silverware under the Dutchman.

That victory probably answered any lingering doubts that Ten Hag could not compete with the top teams tactically, while also proving that his players can put on a performance for him and follow his instructions when asked.

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And having nudged himself alongside Jose Mourinho as the club’s most-successful manager since the departure of the iconic Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013, it was a match which, in effect, has saved his job as Manchester United manager.

However, it still took United close to two weeks after the match at Wembley to make clear Ten Hag would be allowed to continue in his role at Old Trafford.

That delay has since been explained due to Ratcliffe’s decision to first weigh up, and then speak with a number of other candidates tipped to replace the Dutchman at the helm.

Revealed: Why Tuchel turned down Man Utd job

And when the boss they were most keen on, Tuchel – who had recently confirmed he would be leaving Bayern Munich at the season’s end, after all – turned down the role, United were left to publicly state their backing for Ten Hag.

The German boss met Ratcliffe to discuss the role in Monaco, where he laid out his plans for the Old Trafford club if he were to get the job.

However, after those talks and, following months of deliberating over the future of Ten Hag, Ratcliffe decided he was best sticking with the current man at the helm.

Former Sky Sports anchor Keys, though, has questioned the actions of Ratcliffe and claims Tuchel actually turned down the job as the Red Devils chief is a ‘cheapskate’.

He wrote in his blog: “What on earth is Sunny Jim doing at United? After hawking Ten Hag’s job around Europe since the end of the season it turns out the incumbent keeps stays in post – although he was only fourth choice. What rank amateurism.

“The players must be on the floor. To a man they expected Ten Hag to get the sack. What does Ratcliffe think will change?

“If he’d offered a proper salary I’m told Tuchel would’ve said ‘yes’. But Ratcliffe is trying to do everything on the cheap. £35m for [Jarrad] Branthwaite? He’s having a laugh and it will bite him. He’ll also have to sack Ten Hag before Christmas.”

Ratcliffe trying to save money at Man Utd

Ratcliffe’s decision to offer just £35m for Branthwaite has been quickly dismissed by Everton, who value the defender at nearer the £70m mark.

With TEAMtalk exclusively revealing details of United’s opening offer before any of the mainstream outlets received it, their chances of signing Branthwaite will likely fade – unless Ratcliffe makes a significantly-increased offer.

Ratcliffe has made clear of his need to cut costs at Old Trafford, plotting a range of job cuts and criticising the way the Glazers have run the club.

“They haven’t got the manager selection right, haven’t bought well,” Ratcliffe said in 2019. “They have been the dumb money, which you see with players like Fred. United have spent an immense amount since Ferguson left and been poor, to put it mildly. Shockingly poor, to be honest.

“We (INEOS) have a different approach here to be moderately intelligent about it – try to do it more grassroots, trying to locate young talent. Some clubs seem to have an ability to do that, Southampton, Lille. United have done it really poorly. They have lost the plot.”

Ten Hag future doubts at Man Utd

Ten Hag is well aware of United’s efforts to try an drecruit Tuchel and is understood to be less than impressed at going behind his back and in the manner in which they approached his stay.

The Red Devils now plan, though, to not only stick with Ten Hag but also offer him a new deal and TEAMtalk understands that Ratcliffe wants to extend his current arrangement – due to expire next summer – by a further two years to 2027, with the option of another year on top of that.

However, the latest reports suggests it is far from certain that Ten Hag will extend his stay and that his anger at his treatment by United remains. At the very least, he could use that as a spur to retain control in the transfer department, with Ratcliffe initially having intended to take that away.

But it’s suggested any stay at Old Trafford is still not certain and a parting of ways, while unlikely, cannot be ruled out entirely.

Ten Hag came clean on Sunday over the way United handled the saga and he has been quick to criticise Ratcliffe.

“Manchester United disturbed my holiday, they suddenly stood at my doorstep,” he said.

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“They have indeed told me that they have spoken to other managers. That is not even allowed in the Netherlands. Then, it is forbidden to talk to other coaches if there is still a trainer.

“Manchester United have told me that they spoke with Tuchel, but they eventually came to the conclusion that they already have the best manager.”

Ten Hag added: “The new leadership is playing football for the first time.”

The 54-year-old has also admitted that an agreement over a new deal will not be easy, adding: “Manchester United and I still have to find an agreement for the new contract.

“This isn’t easily done, we are still going to have to talk about this.

“We have had good discussions with each other, various topics have been discussed.”