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21 Apr, 2022 12:14

Manchester United confirm Erik ten Hag as new boss

The Red Devils have pinned their rebuild hopes on the Dutch manager
Manchester United confirm Erik ten Hag as new boss

Ajax manager Erik ten Hag will become the latest man to sit in the Old Trafford hot seat after Manchester United confirmed on Thursday that he will take over as permanent boss at the misfiring Red Devils from July. 

The Dutchman, 52, will take over from interim coach Ralf Rangnick in the role, who himself replaced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in November after the Norwegian club legend was kicked to the curb following a prolonged spell of disastrous results.

Rangnick, who signed a two-year deal late last year, is expected to transition into a consultancy role with the club.

Ten Hag emerged as one of the two preferred candidates to take over at Old Trafford, alongside former Spurs and current PSG head coach Mauricio Pochettino, in part due to his dominance of the domestic game in the Netherlands.

Ten Hag also signaled that he was one of the most gifted coaches in European football after guiding Ajax to the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2019. 

Ten Hag had previously worked alongside Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich 

He becomes United's fifth permanent manager since Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013.

"It is a great honor to be appointed manager of Manchester United and I am hugely excited by the challenge ahead," said Ten Hag once the news was confirmed.

"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."

The scale of the task facing Ten Hag was emphasized on Tuesday when Manchester United were drubbed 4-0 away to arch-rivals Liverpool - and have faced accusations from prominent pundits that the club is currently mired in its worst spell in around 40 years. 

Chief among his first orders of business will be to oversee significant change among the club's playing staff, with wholesale ins and outs expected over the summer months.

The future of Cristiano Ronaldo will be a key debate. The Portuguese star has one more year remaining on his deal at Old Trafford but reports in the press have indicated that Ten Hag doesn't see his play-style as being compatible with the system he wants to install at the club.

The future of club captain Harry Maguire will also be discussed amid his own run of poor performances. 

Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard are also nearly certain to join Nemanja Matic as high profile players to leave on free transfers.

The introduction of Ten Hag will likely be part of a culture change at Old Trafford. Mike Phelan, the last remaining coach with a link to the Ferguson regime, is expected to be pushed out the door - while the club have also announced that chief scout Jim Lawlor and head of global scouting Marcel Bout.

It is a price paid, no doubt, due to United's prolonged spell of below-par recruitment.

Ten Hag's commitment to an eye-catching brand of attacking football is thought to have impressed the decision-makers at Old Trafford, as well as a history of infusing young players into the team. 

At present, United have one of the oldest first-team squads in the Premier League, as well as the most highly-paid.

He also becomes the second Dutchman to be tasked with getting Manchester United back on the rails after Louis van Gaal's stint at the club between 2014 and 2016.

It has also been reported that Ten Hag is pursuing former United and England coach Steve McClaren to be his assistant manager. Ten Hag worked under McClaren at FC Twente.