Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Next Man Utd manager: Tuchel drops gargantuan hint with Ten Hag sack fate ‘decided’

Departing Bayern Munich coach Thomas Tuchel is being backed to replace Erik ten Hag as Manchester United manager

Thomas Tuchel is being backed to replace Erik ten Hag as Manchester United manager

Manchester United are reported to be ready to step up their quest to appoint Thomas Tuchel as their next manager with the departing Bayern Munich boss dropping a huge hint on his next destination and with Rio Ferdinand seemingly acting as a secret agent to help smooth the path towards a replacement for Erik ten Hag.

The Bayern boss will be licking his wounds on Thursday morning after coming agonisingly close towards reaching what would have been his fourth Champions League final as a manager. A winner of the competition with Chelsea in 2021, Tuchel came within two minutes of steering Bayern into the Wembley-staged final before Real Madrid super-sub Joselu struck twice in the closing minutes to turn what looked like a 1-0 defeat into a 2-1 victory.

As a result, it is 14-times champions Real Madrid who have the chance to extend their record-breaking run when they go up against Borussia Dortmund on Saturday 1 June.

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In the meantime, Tuchel is soon expected to have his fate confirmed by Bayern Munich, who are yet to formally announce his exit this summer, despite several high-ranking figures discussing the merits of a number of potential successors.

And despite leaving the Bundesliga giants without a trophy to show for his efforts this season, Tuchel is not expected to be out of work for long, with a number of big job offers expected to come his way.

Next Man Utd manager: Tuchel drops huge hint on next destination

Indeed, he is already being strongly linked with the Manchester United this summer with sources informing TEAMtalk that an approach for the German has been made and that Tuchel himself has made it clear he would like the opportunity to take charge at Old Trafford.

Now Tuchel himself has gone public with exactly where he sees himself next, admitting that a return to the Premier League is very much in his thinking while acknowledging for the first time that a parting of ways with Bayern Munich looks set to be on the cards.

Asked where he sees himself next season, he told TNT Sports before the Champions League semi-final second-leg against Real at the Bernabeu: “It’s very, very, very unlikely that it’s at Bayern.

“I have to say, because we have an agreement, there is at the moment no reason to doubt this agreement. We took this position, the initiative came from the club, and so it is and I’m fine with it.

“I don’t need it for the extra percentage of competitiveness because I’m always up for a win, I’m always thinking how to improve the squad or how to improve myself in coaching.

“We go all in. Does it [winning Champions League] have an influence on where I am next season? Maybe not, maybe I’m on holiday no matter what, let’s see, let’s see.”

Asked if his next destination could be a return to the Premier League and, in particular Manchester United, Tuchel did not hold back.

“I’d rather not answer but it is no secret that I loved it at Chelsea, I loved it in England,” he said. “I loved it in the Premier League for sure, it was a very, very special time and I remember it very well.”

Ten Hag sack fate ‘decided’

In the meantime, United will not make any public any decision on Ten Hag until after the current season is over.

In the wake of Monday night’s humiliating 4-0 trouncing at Crystal Palace, there had been calls for the Dutchman to be axed immediately and with two former United stars talking up the merits of his No 2, Steve McClaren, taking on the role on an interim basis.

“I’ve said it for a long time that Ten Hag is not the right man for this job, I’ve been saying it for ages and ages,” Owen told Premier League Productions after United’s Selhurst Park hammering.

“He cannot, simply cannot, manage the team next season.

“I almost wonder now, they’ve got a cup final and they’ve got a few important games that could mean European football next year or not.

“At some point you’ve got to make a decision, they’re going to get absolutely hammered by Manchester City [in the FA Cup final], they’re going to get annihilated, in fact, Arsenal will smash them to bits at Old Trafford, Newcastle will probably beat them and I wouldn’t even fancy them going to Brighton either. They might not get anything out of the rest of the season, playing like that.

“I just wonder there’s just so much at stake, even if it’s only for four games, I wonder whether the board might just have to try to do something here and now and be quite radical about it.

“He cannot, simply cannot, manage this team next season. He’s not good enough. I’ve thought it for ages, and he’s just not good enough to manage Manchester United.”

Ultimately, though, it’s been decided that Ten Hag will be allowed to see the season out at Old Trafford and given the opportunity to land the second major trophy of his reign when they take on Manchester City in the FA Cup final on May 25.

However, with technical director Jason Wilcox charged with running an audit on Ten Hag’s reign and deciding whether he has the merits to continue in charge next season, it’s now reported that Monday’s loss at Selhurst Park has sealed his fate and that even an unlikely victory in the cup final will not be enough to extend his stay into a third and final year.

Agent Rio Ferdinand helps smooth the path

With United reportedly still to decide on their preferred candidate to take charge – and the likes of Gareth Southgate, Roberto De Zerbi as well as Tuchel are thought to be in the frame – speculation on whom will succeed the Dutchman will continue to linger until anything official is decided.

In the meantime, former United defender turned pundit Ferdinand has appeared to make clear whom his preferred candidate would be if United did dismiss Ten Hag.

Prior to the game, Tuchel gatecrashed a pitchside chat between Ferdinand and host Laura Woods as they discussed what to expect from Wednesday night’s game.

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While Ferdinand shared some words with the German, wishing him luck, the two soon started talking behind their hands before embracing in a hug.

The obvious conclusion drawn was that Ferdinand was asking Tuchel about the United job, or at least joking with him about that, with an intrigued Steve McManaman not holding back when quizzing his colleague after Tuchel had walked away.

After Ferdinand claimed he was blown away by the 50-year-old’s ‘relaxed’ attitude ahead of the game, McManaman quipped: “What about the Manchester United job?”

To which a smiling Ferdinand cheekily replied: “That was the final part of the talk! Where are you going?”

Tuchel, who has also taken charge at PSG and Borussia Dortmund during his career, has a 57.28 win percentage record, claiming 350 wins from his 611 matches in management.