Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Ten Hag sack: Man Utd get serious for shock replacement that could spark player exodus, with contact made

Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag, Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna

Manchester United have made contact with Ipswich Town boss Kieran McKenna amid rampant speculation Erik ten Hag will be sacked, though the change of manager could spark a player exodus, according to reports.

Injuries have been a mitigating factor, though it cannot be argued Man Utd have endured a nightmare campaign under their Dutch manager.

The Red Devils are on course to finish eighth in the Premier League which would represent their worst ever finish in the competition.

14 defeats have been suffered in the league alone, while Ten Hag has been blasted for his kamikaze tactics that bizarrely combine a high press with a low block.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his underlings will make a final decision on Ten Hag’s future after the FA Cup final on May 25.

However, the strong expectation is Ten Hag will be axed, with TEAMtalk leading the way when revealing he was already viewed as a ‘dead man walking’ as early as March 1.

In the event Ten Hag is replaced, the likes of Gareth Southgate, Thomas Frank, Roberto De Zerbi, and Thomas Tuchel, to name just four, have been linked.

However, Ipswich Town boss Kieran McKenna is also under consideration and according to the Guardian, contact with the 38-year-old has been made.

Man Utd know what they’d be getting in McKenna

McKenna 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 secured back-to-back promotions a fortnight ago.

However, McKenna might not be in the Ipswich dugout for their return to the top flight, with the Guardian adding he’s now under ‘serious consideration’ at Old Trafford.

McKenna wanted by at least two more Prem sides

Man Utd may have to move quickly if hoping to bring their former coach back to Manchester.

Indeed, other Premier League sides including Brighton (if De Zerbi is poached) are also weighing up a move for McKenna.

Brentford are another monitoring McKenna’s situation amid uncertainty over Thomas Frank’s long-term future.

Ipswich are determined to hold on to their prized asset who is contracted to Portman Road until 2027. As such, any raid will require a significant compensation fee to be paid.

Man Utd squad soured on McKenna’s coaching – reports

McKenna has worked wonders at Ipswich and is among the country’s brightest young managers.

However, a report from Football365 has detailed why his appointment might not be greeted so warmly by Man Utd’s playing personnel.

Firstly, the prior comments of Daily Mail reporter Chris Wheeler from 2019 were cited.

Wheeler wrote: ‘Some players harbour reservations over Kieran McKenna having such a key role in first-team training little more than a year after being promoted from the Under 18s’, and that ‘his sessions are thought by some to be more suited to the academy’.

Secondly, rumblings of senior players complaining they were ‘ill-prepared for matches’ emerged.

McKenna was later criticised by members of United’s overseas contingent for being ‘too basic’ and ‘too British.’

Finally his allegedly lacklustre training regime came under fire along with his ‘dry and school-teacherly’ delivery when leading sessions.

Given Man Utd are open to offers for every member of their squad barring Kobbie Mainoo, Alejandro Garnacho and Rasmus Hojlund, a surprise exit or two involving players you wouldn’t expect to leave could be on the cards if McKenna gets the nod.

READ MORE: The key contract details of every Man Utd first-team player: Expiry dates, weekly wages, agents…