Manchester United confirm Erik ten Hag as new manager from end of season

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Manchester United confirm Erik ten Hag as new manager from end of season
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Erik ten Hag has been appointed Manchester United manager after terms were agreed for the Dutchman to take over from the end of the season.

Weeks of negotiations have concluded, with the Ajax boss succeeding Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as United’s next permanent boss on a three year deal with the option of a further 12 months.

United were eager to confirm his appointment today after a wounding week that saw them humiliated by Liverpool on Tuesday.

Yesterday, they laid the foundations for his arrival with the departures of two key figures in their recruitment department: head of global scouting Marcel Bout and chief scout Jim Lawlor.

“It is a great honour to be appointed manager of Manchester United and I am hugely excited by the challenge ahead,” Ten Hag told the club website. “I know the history of this great club and the passion of the fans, and I am absolutely determined to develop a team capable of delivering the success they deserve.

“It will be difficult to leave Ajax after these incredible years, and I can assure our fans of my complete commitment and focus on bringing this season to a successful conclusion before I move to Manchester United.”

United opted for Ten Hag over previous first choice Mauricio Pochettino after he impressed them with his vision for the club. And his arrival will prompt a major rethink over their recruitment structure, with future signings fitting a specific profile to fit the new manager’s philosophy.

Interim manager Ralf Rangnick has been heavily critical of United’s record in the transfer market after being alarmed by the quality of the squad he inherited from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He will take up a consultancy role at the end of the season.

United were determined to have a new manager in place in time to play a major role in the summer transfer window, when Harry Kane and Declan Rice are both targets, while Kalvin Phillips is another on their radar.

Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham is a dream target, but he is not expected to be available this summer.

There is an acceptance that the new man will need to be given significant backing in the transfer market.

Rangnick suggested after the 4-0 defeat by Liverpool that as many as 10 new players could be needed, although that will not be possible this summer.

There will be a host of departures, with Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Edinson Cavani and Nemanja Matic among those set to leave. Anthony Martial could also be sold, while the future of Cristiano Ronaldo is also a source of debate.

Ten Hag, formerly manager of Utrecht, took over at Ajax in 2017 and shot to wider prominence when leading a side full of homegrown talent to the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2019 before a dramatic late defeat to Pochettino’s Tottenham.

 (PA)
(PA)

He has won the Eredivisie twice, in 2018/19 and 2020/21, claiming a Dutch league and cup double in both seasons, and is on course to claim a third title this year, with Ajax currently four points clear of PSV at the top of the division.

Ten Hag will become the latest manager charged with returning the club to the highs not reached since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson nine years ago.

David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Solskjaer have all tried and failed to match the achievements of their predecessor, with only an FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League to show for the near-decade since the legendary Scot’s retirement.

Despite hundreds of millions of pounds of investment - much of which has been heavily criticised - in the transfer market, United have failed to mount a serious challenge for the Premier League title in the post-Ferguson era, two distant second-placed finishes representing their best efforts, and have not been beyond the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

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