Erik ten Hag is edging closer and closer to becoming Manchester United’s next permanent manager.
Ten Hag is now on the brink of accepting the role at Old Trafford and agreeing to oversee the next chapter in the club’s history. As revealed by the Manchester Evening News Last month, the Dutchman is United’s preferred candidate for the job and he was interviewed just over three weeks ago.
Ajax bosses expect him to leave the Amsterdam club this summer to join United and reports in the last 24 hours suggest that a deal is now very close to being concluded. The Dutchman has been a popular choice among the supporters in recent months during the club’s search for a new boss, so his impending appointment from him is set to be well received.
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Since taking charge at Ajax back in December 2017, Ten Hag has put the club back on the map, certainly in Europe. They reached the semi-finals of the competition in 2019 and hammered Borussia Dortmund twice in the group stages earlier this season.
Therefore, it is unsurprising that Ten Hag has earned such rave reviews from big-name managers across Europe — including Manchester City chief Pep Guardiola. Ten Hag worked with the Catalan during the former’s time at Bayern Munich and made a lasting impression on the City manager.
Speaking earlier this month, Guardiola said: “We spoke quite regularly and he is just an incredible person and human being. I was surprised at how humble he was.
“For his qualities, just take a look at his Ajax team in the last years. It is a joy to watch. In many, many games, not just the year they got to the Champions League semi-final.
“In terms of qualities, just look at his teams. To define a manager, watch his team for a long time. This is a team, and this manager makes the players play.
“There is no doubt about that. If I was 100 per cent sure I would call Manchester United and say ‘guys, you have to take him’, but nobody knows.”
Guardiola is not the only big-name Premier League manager to have waxed lyrical about Ten Hag. Back in 2020, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp hailed the 52-year-old’s credentials, describing him as an “exciting talent” in management.
“Erik is rightly regarded as one of the most exciting coaching talents in world football at the moment because of the work he does with Ajax,” Klopp said, speaking in December 2020. “Of course, it is a wonderful club – one of the stellar names of European football – but in this moment it is clear they have outstanding leadership of the organization and Erik is a big part of that.
“They have had to adapt in recent seasons after losing a few players to rival clubs. I remember from my own experience at Dortmund how that feels and what a challenge it is.
“How they deal with it is exceptional. The foundations of the team remain solid and they have recruited well.
“They have a clear identity. I love watching them, I have to say.”
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