The work has already started for Erik ten Hag as he deals with perhaps the biggest challenge facing any Manchester United manager since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
While plenty of the great man’s successors have faced difficult tasks, not least David Moyes, Ten Hag is arguably met with the toughest of them all as he picks up the pieces of a disastrous season. United are in desperate need of change throughout the club, and it’s no surprise the Dutchman has been keen to get started as quickly as possible.
The 52-year-old is facing up to a major rebuild, with a number of players set to depart after a season in which United’s various weaknesses have been horribly exposed. Their efforts have not been helped by a dressing room which has become increasingly disjointed.
ALSO READ: Ralf Rangnick has left Manchester United legacy that might worry the Glazers
Ralf Rangnick was unable to resolve the situation and is now set to sail off into the sunset after it was confirmed he will not be staying on in a consultancy role, as had previously been agreed. The German’s departure does offer up an early insight into how things are changing under Ten Hag’s leadership.
Although the former Ajax boss never explicitly said he was against working with Rangnick, he was also not too forthcoming when asked about how the dynamic would present itself. When asked in his first press conference at Old Trafford if he felt Rangnick’s role as a consultant was going to be valuable, Ten Hag replied “that is on the club”, suggesting the German’s departure was already in the pipeline.
Furthermore, it points to Ten Hag being given a major luxury that has not been afforded to his predecessors. Since Ferguson’s retirement, the power at Old Trafford has very much been shared around in a move that has brought them more in line with other clubs – but the results have been terrible.
Ed Woodward’s time at the club saw plenty of cash being thrown about but with little success, and the former executive vice-chairman’s record in the transfer market was patchy at best. Amid Ten Hag’s arrival, the dynamic looks to have shifted back in favor of the manager.
The Dutchman made it clear upon his arrival that he wanted control over transfers as a prerequisite of his appointment. With Rangnick no longer taking up his consultancy role, that removes another potential obstacle between Ten Hag and his goal from him.
Rangnick isn’t the only departing figure. Director of football negotiations Matt Judge, employees chief strategy officer Hemen Tseayo, chief scout Jim Lawlor and head of global scouting Marcel Bout are all set to follow him out of the exit door.
Meanwhile, Ten Hag has already confirmed his backroom staff, with Mitchell van der Gaag and Steve McClaren joining as his assistants as he looks to make his own assessment of United’s squad. As he prepares to oversee what could be a major overhaul of his side, it seems the power may finally be returning to the manager at Old Trafford.
Sign up to our United newsletter so you never miss an update from Old Trafford this season.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.