Erik ten Hag: Manchester United appoint Ajax boss as new manager

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Manchester United have appointed Ajax boss Erik ten Hag as their new manager, to replace interim Ralf Rangnick at the end of the season.

Sky Sports News reported on March 31 Ten Hag was in pole position to land the job over Mauricio Pochettino, with sources close to the manager and Ajax revealing compensation is below £2m.

The 52-year-old has signed a three-year deal with the option of a further 12 months. He told United’s website: “It is a great honour to be appointed manager of Manchester United and I am hugely excited by the challenge ahead.

“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.

Erik ten Hag on the touchline during an Ajax match.

“It will be difficult to leave Ajax after these incredible years, and I can assure our fans of my complete commitment and focus on bringing this season to a successful conclusion before I move to Manchester United.”

Edwin van der Sar, Ajax’s chief executive and a former United goalkeeper, said, “we would have liked to have kept Erik for longer”, but added, “he is going to make the step to one of the biggest clubs in the world”.

Ten Hag told Ajax’s website: “I’m happy that it has been finalised and that it has been officially announced. That clarity is important.”

John Murtough, United’s football director, said: “During the past four years at Ajax, Erik has proved himself to be one of the most exciting and successful coaches in Europe, renowned for his team’s attractive, attacking football and commitment to youth.

“In our conversations with Erik leading up to this appointment, we were deeply impressed with his long-term vision for returning Manchester United to the level we want to be competing at, and his drive and determination to achieve that.

“We wish Erik the best of luck as he focuses on achieving a successful end to the season at Ajax and look forward to welcoming him to Manchester United this summer.”

Ten Hag was understood to be the unanimous choice at United following a rigorous recruitment process that was led by Murtough and Darren Fletcher, the technical director.

Richard Arnold, the executive vice-chairman, was also involved and the trio are understood to have agreed that Ten Hag was the best candidate for the job.

A number of managers were considered by United but the club are believed to have felt the Dutchman was the one that most closely aligned with their plans for the future.

United were looking for a number of attributes from their new manager, including proven success, a commitment to youth, the ability to improve players and the will to introduce an attractive style of play.

Ten Hag is said to have set out his long-term vision to build a successful and exciting team during conversations with United, in which he is also said to have shown enthusiasm for the challenge he now faces at Old Trafford.

Ten Hag will be United’s fifth permanent manager since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013. The club have won only three trophies in the following nine years – the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League – while they are currently in danger of missing out on qualification for the Champions League next season.

Ten Hag is set to oversee a much-needed rebuild at United, with Rangnick – who is due to take up a consultancy role at Old Trafford this summer – saying after the 4-0 thrashing at rivals Liverpool on Tuesday that the side may need up to 10 new players.

A number of first-team players, including Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Edinson Cavani, could be set to leave as part of the overhaul, with their contracts expiring at the end of the season.

On Wednesday, the departures of Jim Lawlor, United’s chief scout, and Marcel Bout, the head of global scouting, were announced. (Sky Sports)

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