Manchester United invited Erik ten Hag to interview to become the club’s next manager earlier this week.
It only took a few days for reports to emerge suggesting the Dutchman has passed with flying colours. Ten Hag is obviously not the only candidate that United are admirers of. Mauricio Pochettino, Luis Enrique and Julen Lopetegui are other managers on the shortlist that are being actively considered. Club sources indicate there is no front runner at this stage of the process.
Regardless, there does seem to be momentum building behind Ten Hag. United fans on social media have been vocal in their preference for the Ajax boss to land the job, with an overwhelming majority wanting him to take over at Old Trafford.
ALSO READ: What Manchester United’s Donny van de Beek is thinking ahead of summer transfer window.
Have Hag’s credentials for the role are obvious. He’s inspired Ajax to dominate in the Netherlands while he’s restored the club’s reputation in the Champions League. Ten Hag has managed to achieve said success with limited resources.
But what can United fans expect from Ten Hag? Ajax have used the formations 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 in all but two of their fixtures this season. That means Ten Hag would certainly suit United, with the Reds using the same tactical approach this term.
Donny van de Beek thrived under Ten Hag’s management during his time at Ajax. Van de Beek played in the No.10 position but he seems to have the attributes required to operate in a three-man midfield. Bruno Fernandes is an inevitable starter at United and that means Ten Hag would likely have to play 4-3-3 if he wanted a romantic reunion with Van de Beek in Manchester.
That midfield would be unbalanced without a world-class defensive midfielder. the Manchester Evening News understands signing a specialist midfielder is United’s priority in the summer and Ten Hag might be the man that’s handed the check book.
Daley Blind for £14.4m is the most expensive signing Ten Hag has made at Ajax and he could soon be thrown into a new world.
In terms of what Ten Hag is like personally, there has been a common myth in the media recently that he was taking English lessons ahead of a potential summer move to United. Ten Hag has spoken fluent English for years and those reports are untrue.
An interesting report from Eurosport offers valuable insight into Ten Hag instead. The journalists who have closely followed Ten Hag’s reign in Amsterdam know him as a quiet and reserved man, so he’s not going to make box office headlines in press conferences as Jose Mourinho did. Ten Hag has also been known for giving one-sentence answers to questions from the media.
Ten Hag is understood to be a brilliant speaker on tactics when comfortable, but supporters shouldn’t expect to be wooed by his early press conferences. Although it was hard not to be impressed by how Rangnick spoke back in November, he’s been unable to turn around United’s fortunes as planned. That’s a reminder there’s no correlation between charisma and management ability.
Ten Hag is the most popular candidate among supporters to get the United job and there has been positive noise this week.
It would be the biggest of the 52-year-old’s career to transform United but many think he’s capable of rising to it.
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