Ryan Babel has warned his former manager Erik ten Hag he could face “problems” from Manchester United’s big names next season.
United look to be closing in on appointing Ten Hag as their new permanent manager. The Ajax boss is understood to have verbally agreed to a three-year deal to make the move to Old Trafford and succeed interim boss Ralf Rangnick.
Ten Hag has emerged as the Reds’ preferred candidate over recent weeks, and was interviewed for the role last month. Although he has remained tight-lipped over his future, the 52-year-old is expected to make the switch ahead of what will be a huge summer for him.
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Following on from what has been a dismal season for United, the Dutchman will be tasked with rebuilding his squad as a number of players look set to depart, while questions remain over the futures of others. Not only that, but Ten Hag may have to convince some of the players already at the club on his suitability for the job.
As reported by the Manchester Evening News, there is a split in the Old Trafford dressing room, with some players viewing his appointment as underwhelming. And former Liverpool forward Babel, who played under Ten Hag at Ajax in 2020, has sent a warning to his old boss ahead of the switch.
“It’s an interesting move,” Babel told talk SPORT. “Obviously I’ve worked with Ten Hag at Ajax, he’s a very good coach.
“But at the same time I think football style-wise, Dutch-minded, Man United had Louis van Gaal before and people have mixed feelings about his time there. In my opinion, and I’m sure he would say the same, I don’t think he [Van Gaal] had all the players that he wanted that could execute his vision of playing how he wanted to play.
“That’s why it will be interesting to see if Ten Hag will have the tools and will get the tools in order to acquire the players that can execute his vision. He’s very demanding in how he wants to play, and with all due respect, a player who doesn’t necessarily understand his way of playing, even though he can be a big name, can cause problems. It will be interesting to see how that will play out.”
Having worked with Pep Guardiola during his time as Bayern Munich’s reserve team coach, Ten Hag has drawn comparisons with the Manchester City boss. But Babel believes both have a debt of gratitude to former United boss Van Gaal.
“I understand why they say that [Ten Hag is the new Guardiola],” Babel explained. “That’s why I also used Louis van Gaal’s name.
“If you look at the whole history of these coaches Pep Guardiola is of course from Barcelona but he worked under Dutch coaches who were able to bring Barcelona at that time to a certain level and a certain playing style and he used that in his style.
“You can see many interviews where he admires Johan Cruyff and these types of coaches so it’s all in the same bracket, and of course at the end they all add their own flavor to it but it’s pretty much in the same bracket.”
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