Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Next Man Utd manager: Plan to sensationally replace Ten Hag with former United coach gets serious

Former Man Utd figures Michael Carrick, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Kieran McKenna

Man Utd are showing 'concrete interest' in one of their former coaches

Manchester United are seriously considering replacing Erik ten Hag with one of the club’s former assistant managers who has worked miracles in the Championship, according to a report.

The pressure is once again mounting on Erik ten Hag on the back of a truly turgid display against Brentford last weekend. Sir Jim Ratcliffe is pulling the strings at Old Trafford and aims to appoint the best in class to senior positions.

Omar Berrada has already been plucked from Manchester City to serve as the new CEO. Dan Ashworth is wanted as sporting director, while the highly-regarded Jason Wilcox has agreed to become United’s new technical director.

With major moves behind the scenes already made and other in the works, speculation is rife the changes could extend to the managerial position too.

Man Utd look set to miss out on Champions League qualification. That’s despite fifth position in the Premier League being on course to be good enough to qualify for next year’s expanded UCL format.

The Guardian recently reported Ten Hag’s position is secure until the summer at least. But while he won’t be sacked during this season’s run-in, all bets are off once the campaign concludes.

Links to the likes of Gareth Southgate and Roberto De Zerbi have emerged. But according to a fresh update from Football Insider, Man Utd are actually looking to someone who’s already been in the United dugout.

They state the Red Devils are showing ‘concrete interest’ in Ipswich Town manager, Kieran McKenna.

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The 37-year-old was on Man Utd’s books between 2016-21 and initially served as manager of their Under-18s.

McKenna was later promoted to Jose Mourinho’s assistant coach and also served in that same position under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.

The Norther Irishman would go on to leave United when offered the Ipswich job in December of 2021. McKenna helped the Tractor Boys win promotion to the Championship in the 2022/23 season and remarkably, they’re on course to make it back-to-back promotions.

Ipswich are upsetting the odds in the Championship and currently sit top of the table. McKenna has received universal acclaim for the wonders he’s worked at Portman Road and per FI, Man Utd and Ratcliffe have duly taken note.

It’s claimed United are ‘big admirers’ of McKenna who has emerged as a ‘strong contender to be their next manager.’

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McKenna could mirror Xabi Alonso?

Many will wonder if appointing McKenna to the top job at Man Utd is a risk given he’s never managed in the Premier League.

However, the report adds Ratcliffe plans to scale down the scope of the managerial position at Man Utd and have the manager focus solely on coaching the players and picking the team.

As such, the wider elements to the job – such as player recruitment – will be left to people like Ashworth and Wilcox.

Appointing McKenna would unquestionably be a gamble given his young age and relative lack of experience.

However, such a move may be viewed as Man Utd getting ahead of the curve, much in the same way Bayer Leverkusen did with the Xabi Alonso.

Leverkusen currently sit top of the tree in Germany and barring a collapse of epic proportions, will win their first ever Bundesliga title in the coming weeks.

Up until reaffirming his loyalty to Leverkusen last Friday, Alonso was the most in-demand manager in world football after less than two years in senior management.

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