Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Ten Hag turns on Ratcliffe as Man Utd sack delay derails transfer plans and risky new No 1 manager target emerges

Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag, co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe

Erik ten Hag believes the delay in deciding his fate will see Manchester United fall even further behind their rivals, while TEAMtalk has learned who has a genuine chance to succeed the Dutchman if he is sacked.

Ten Hag guided Man Utd to their second trophy in two seasons when upsetting the odds and sinking Manchester City in the FA Cup final.

It was a spectacular way to end what had otherwise been a dire season for the Red Devils. Indeed, United bowed out of Europe before Christmas and produced their worst ever finish in the Premier League era when finishing eighth.

Ten Hag’s tactics have been picked apart and for good reason too. Indeed, it still seems nonsensical to ask your forwards to press while demanding your backline defend in a low block. The end result is giant gaps in the midfield and Casemiro in particular has suffered as a result.

Ten Hag has also been taken to task over his transfers, with very few of his new recruits shining so far. Antony – who cost a whopping £85m to sign – may yet go down as one of the worst signings in Premier League history.

Nonetheless, Ten Hag appears to have retained the overwhelming support of the fanbase. It also cannot be argued that a crippling injury crisis hamstrung Ten Hag and co from start to finish last season.

At the behest of new co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe, United chief Sir Dave Brailsford is leading a review into whether to stick or twist on Ten Hag.

A decision had been expected to arrive in the days following the FA Cup final. But fast forward 16 days and the Dutchman is still in the dark.

According to fresh reports on Tuesday, the 54-year-old is growing increasingly frustrated at United’s indecision.

Angry Ten Hag demands clarity as Man Utd transfer plans suffer

TEAMtalk can corroborate Ten Hag is unhappy with the delay over his future and the under-fire manager has demanded clarity from the club’s decision-makers since returning from a holiday.

Key among Ten Hag’s concerns – aside from the fact he wants to keep his job – is the fact Man Utd’s transfer plans are effectively on hold while his future remains unresolved.

While other clubs are already agreeing deals and formulating plans, Man Utd have artificially put themselves on the backfoot by stalling over Ten Hag’s future. English clubs can officially register new recruits when the window open on Friday.

It’s recently emerged Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite is the club’s primary option at centre-half, though a deal is by no means imminent.

Elsewhere, United don’t appear to have settled on first-choice targets in other positions.

Ten Hag has previously voiced his dissatisfaction with the slow manner in which United conduct their transfer dealings.

Their sluggishness in the market is believed to have contributed to overpaying for players in the past, most notably with Antony.

Ten Hag fears that if he is spared the sack, his back will be against the wall next season due to what’s shaping up to be a lacklustre summer window.

READ MORE: Ten Hag sack: How Man Utd boss compares to Klopp, Arteta after two seasons as axe talk heats up

Ten Hag sack still the likeliest outcome

A final decision on whether to remove Ten Hag is expected to come at some stage this week.

However, the list of viable candidates to take the reins from Ten Hag is shrinking by the day.

Thomas Tuchel has ruled himself out of the running despite impressing in a face-to-face meeting with Ratcliffe in Monaco. Tuchel has instead elected to take a brief break from management.

England boss Gareth Southgate is open to taking the job, though will not enter official talks with Euro 2024 around the corner.

As such, United may have to wait until mid-July before negotiations with Southgate can take place and that is a delay they’re unwilling to absorb.

Elsewhere, Kieran McKenna elected to sign a new deal with Ipswich Town and reports claim discussions with recently-fired Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino have not progressed.

That leaves just Roberto De Zerbi and Thomas Frank standing from the managerial candidates most frequently linked with Man Utd.

TEAMtalk has learned that of the two, there is a very real chance Brentford boss Frank gets the nod if Ten Hag is fired.

The appointment of Frank would no doubt divide opinion among the United faithful, not least because Brentford took a step backwards last season when finishing a lowly 16th in the Premier League.

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