Man Utd 'close in' on deal for ten Hag as new manager
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Manchester United chief Richard Arnold has now met Erik ten Hag in secret after the Dutchman was brutal during the interviewing process with Darren Fletcher and John Murtough, according to reports. The Ajax boss is poised to take over at Old Trafford this summer. He’s now beaten Mauricio Pochettino to the post, leading to more uncertainty over the Paris Saint-Germain boss’ future.
Earlier in the week, it emerged that Ten Hag had struck a verbal agreement with United that would see him swap Ajax for Old Trafford at the end of the campaign.
And, now, The Sun have opened up on the way his interview with Fletcher and Murtough went.
It’s claimed the United duo were left shocked at the ‘brutal’ way Ten Hag ripped into the squad and pinpointed everything that was wrong with the club.
Since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, the Red Devils have spent over £1billion on transfers – but won just the FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Europa League while their rivals have gone on to claim even grander prizes.
Ten Hag made it clear that he felt the club’s structure and way of doing things behind the scenes wasn’t up to scratch.
Yet he’s said to not be demanding the same sort of ‘overall power’ that Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho wanted during their reigns.
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Ten Hag was so full-on that it initially took United officials a few days to digest what the Ajax boss had told them.
However, they were impressed by his ‘frank assessment and vision for the club’ – which is why he’s now ahead of Pochettino in the race to take over.
Fletcher and Murtough had met Ten Hag in person, without the presence of Arnold there.
But with the former Bayern Munich and Utrecht coach now primed to take over, the publication says Arnold has jetted out to Amsterdam for a one-on-one meeting of his own.
United know they need to get this appointment right.
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And Pochettino isn’t the only boss Ten Hag has beaten to become the next manager of the fallen Premier League giants.
Julen Lopetegui had also attracted interest, having rebuilt his career at Sevilla following a difficult spell at Real Madrid.
And Luis Enrique was another managerial target, though he was always adamant he wouldn’t be leaving the Spain national team before the World Cup later in the year.
Ajax are happy to sit down and talk with United about Ten Hag’s release clause, which is just £2million.
But the Dutchman will be coming into a side who are unlikely to have any Champions League football next season following a dire campaign under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.
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The Red Devils are currently seventh, having won just one of their last five league games.
They’re six points behind Tottenham, who occupy fourth following a remarkable turnaround in form under Antonio Conte.
And their Champions League exit at the hands of Atletico Madrid last month means they’re primed to finish the season without a trophy for the fifth year in a row.
Former United coach Eric Steele, meanwhile, thinks Ten Hag is comparable to Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola due to his attention to detail.
“He was very thorough, unbelievable detail — like Pep Guardiola,” he said.
“’When we lose the ball in this area this is what we do’, ‘This is how to win the ball in this situation.’
“Specific moments in games mapped out.
“He was also coaching his players when to go for the jugular and when to retain possession. I liked his manner.”
And Steele also thinks United should try and land Edwin van der Sar to work alongside Ten Hag, adding: “They would be a dream duo.”
United are next in action against Norwich on Saturday (3pm).
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