Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Next Man Utd manager: Top candidate believes ‘job is his’ as Ten Hag learns four reasons for sack

Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag, part-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe

Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag and part-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe

One of the top candidates to succeed Erik ten Hag in the Manchester United job seemingly believes a move to Old Trafford is on the cards and the job is as good as his, with the Dutchman learning four reasons why he will be axed.

While the Manchester United players are preparing for Saturday’s FA Cup final against Manchester City in a hope of salvaging something from what has been an extremely difficult season, they do so under a huge cloud after a staggering 24 hours for under-fire manager Ten Hag.

And while the Dutchman continues to state he is preparing for next season as normal, he will walk out at Wembley with serious doubts over his future and amid claims the club has decided to sack him this summer regardless of how Saturday’s cup final pans out.

Their second season under Ten Hag has gone desperately wrong, with the club crashing out of the Champions League – and Europe altogether – in embarrassing circumstances before Christmas, before then finishing a lowly eighth in the Premier League – their lowest position since the 1989/90 season.

GO DEEPER 👉 Ten Hag sack: The eight Man Utd players whose standards have most dipped and leave Dutchman on the brink of axe

And with TEAMtalk exclusively breaking the news in March that United’s players had lost faith in their manager and were expecting the axe to fall, that topic has now reached fever pitch in the wake of strong new claims on Friday that United chief Sir Jim Ratcliffe will hand him his marching orders as soon as Saturday’s cup final is over with.

Ten Hag, for his part, is doing his best to ignore the speculation, simply saying that he plans to take a holiday once the cup final is done and that he believes he will still be at the helm next season.

Four reasons for Ten Hag sack at Man Utd revealed

But behind the scenes, Ratcliffe was seemingly always clear in his mind that the club needs a change of direction after what has been a truly woeful season.

And while few would give them much chance of denying Manchester City to the chance to win the double Double at Wembley on Saturday, the Red Devils appear ready to go their separate ways from Ten Hag once Saturday’s match is over.

His chances of continuing in the role has been the subject of a thorough audit from technical director Jason Wilcox over the past month, with it ultimately decided the club are best to move on from the former Ajax boss.

And we understand there are ultimately four reasons why Ratcliffe has ultimately decided to wield the axe.

The obvious one is their performances this season, which has seen the club finish in eighth place and suffer an embarrassing record number of defeats  – 14 – ever recorded in Premier League history.

Their porous defence has also leaked a woeful 84 goals in all competitions – their highest since the 1976/77 season

Secondly, the team just appear to have lacked a clear identity of play – something Rio Ferdinand picked up on recently as a major reason to let Ten Hag leave.

Their kamikaze tactics have also been criticised with United having conceded a whopping 90 shots on their goal in three matches against Liverpool this season.

Thirdly, a failure to get the best out his star-studded team – many of whom are his signings – has also not reflected well.

His reign has also been dogged by a number of disciplinary problems too, with Jadon Sancho’s very public falling out just one factor. And while the United board sided with the manager over that one, there have been other issues too within the squad, with Marcus Rashford also having his share of issues

Next Man Utd manager: Kieran McKenna believes Old Trafford return is on

And finally, United have seemingly been forced to act with the race for their now preferred managerial option, in Kieran McKenna, starting to heat up.

The Ipswich Town boss has done a stellar job in steering the Tractor Boys to successive promotions, taking them from the League One doldrums to the Premier League in under two years.

With the 38-year-old’s stock at an all-time high, Ipswich face the major blow of losing their boss ahead of their Premier League return.

And with Chelsea also strongly keen on his appointment following the decision to part company with Mauricio Pochettino, TEAMtalk understands that Ipswich bosses do now expect to lose their manager this summer.

DON’T MISS 👉 Next Man Utd manager: EVERY single option tipped to replace doomed Ten Hag

Per reports, McKenna now feels the job at United is his this summer and that he is closing in on a return to Old Trafford as Ten Hag’s successor.

The Northern Irishman has a strong assocation with the club, starting out as a youth team coach before being promoted to first-team coach under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, before leaving to take the top job at Ipswich in December 2021.

And with a report claiming representatives of McKenna met with both Wilcox and incoming new CEO Omar Berrada this week, an offer to install him at United may now be imminent.

His deal at Ipswich runs to 2027 and it’s claimed that his compensation would cost United between £4m and £6m.