‘So be it’ – key figure gives Man Utd hope that eye-catching deal is on

Date published: Wednesday 8th December 2021 1:15 - James Marshment

Erik Ten Hag, Ajax boss during a press conference

Manchester United have been given encouragment that Erik Ten Hag is willing to become their permanent manager at the end of the season – by Ajax chief executive Edwin van der Sar.

The Red Devils are now under the temporary leadership of Ralf Rangnick. The German sage has been chosen by United to see them through to the end of the season, when a two-year advisory role awaits. However, plans are already afoot as to whom becomes steers the good ship United on a permanent basis.

Indeed, multiple reports suggest Mauricio Pochettino remains the strong favourite. Gary Neville has long backed the qualities of the Argentinian – even naming two players he would likely target if he takes charge.

However, there is a school of thought that claims United could also look to Ten Hag. The Dutchman has carved out a reputation for himself as one of the game’s elite coaches at Ajax. He steered them into the Champions League semi-finals in 2019 – and they look a team to be feared again, having stayed perfect through their six group games this season.

Now Van Der Sar, who spent six years as United goalkeeper between 2005 and 2011, is not exactly dissuading an approach.

Van der Sar open-minded on links

“This means that we are doing something well,” Van der Sar told RTL 7 in reference to Ten Hag’s Old Trafford links. “It’s the same with the players. When we perform well, the interest comes.

“If there is interest in our players or coach… we’ve all been blown away in the past. So be it, we have to make sure we’re ready by then, that the lists are filled in.”

Ten Hag has also won two Eredivisie titles, two Dutch cups and one Dutch super cup while in Amsterdam.

And the 51-year-old admits that he’s ready to take on a fresh challenge.

“I think I’m ready for it [to move to a top foreign club],” Ten Hag told de Volkskrant. “I would be happy to take up that challenge.

“But I’m not chasing it. If it turns out that that step will never come, I will not say that my coaching career has failed. But I think I have sufficient competences to take on that challenge.”

Ajax drawing up potential Erik Ten Hag successors

De Telegraaf journalist Mike Verweij, meanwhile, claims Ajax are considering a number of would-be successor should Ten Hag leave.

Verweij claims Ajax already have a ‘list of successors’ for Ten Hag, should the former defender leave for United.

They are actively searching for suitable replacements and Lyon coach Peter Bosz is an early frontrunner. However, Verweij would not go as far as naming any other targets.

This could mean Ten Hag’s links with United are stronger than first thought, despite official contact being yet to be made.

On Ten Hag’s potential move to United, compatriot Ronald De Boer said: “He would be crazy if he didn’t do it. But it is not the best next step for him. It is best if he can go to Germany.

“He has gained experience at Bayern Munich and speaks the language fluently.”

READ MOREDeep cut for Rangnick as No 1 target snubs Man Utd offer for rivals

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