Football News

“I am where I want to be” — Julen Lopetegui rules himself out of Man Utd job

By Ben Green

"I am where I want to be” — Julen Lopetegui rules himself out of Man Utd job

Published: 16:43, 30 March 2022

Sevilla manager Julen Lopetegui has distanced himself from the soon-to-be-vacant Manchester United job.

The hunt for Ralf Rangnick’s successor stretches on as a host of elite-level tacticians continue to be linked with the hotseat at Old Trafford.

However, one of those names can now be rubbed out as Lopetegui has poured cold water on suggestions he could leave Sevilla this summer.

The 55-year-old has worked wonders in Andalusia since taking over in 2019, winning the 2020 Europa League — having knocked Man Utd out of the semis — and securing back-to-back fourth-placed finishes in La Liga, including a serious title push last term.

The initial buzz of his tenure has just lulled in recent times as his injury-hit Nervionenses exited the Europa League at the expense of West Ham earlier this month, while his side have won just four of their previous 14 games across all competitions.

Still, the former Real Madrid, Spain and Porto manager remains hot property and rumours of a potential switch to Man Utd certainly seem logical on paper, but that speculation has now been well and truly put to bed by the man himself.

“The [speculation], I can’t help it,” Lopetegui told El Chiringuito. “I am where I want to be. Continue on the Sevilla bench next season? I have no doubt.”

Other names have been bandied about, not least long-term target Mauricio Pochettino, Thomas Tuchel, who has emerged as a recent contender following Chelsea’s off-field issues, and Erik ten Hag of Ajax.

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It is believed the latter has already held “positive” discussions with Man Utd over the future vacancy, and former Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt has now given his two cents on his fellow countryman, believing Ten Hag has all the right attributes of a “great manager” — and should be given a shot at a “top” club.

“Ten Hag is a great, experienced coach,” Kuyt told GOAL. “He’s done his apprenticeship, if you like, with Bayern Munich’s second team, then Utrecht and now at Ajax.

“He is a great manager who has improved himself so much, on and off the pitch. I know some people were doubting his level of speaking English, his performance in front of the camera, but you see him growing every week as a manager, and I think he can do a great job at any top side in Europe.

“His tactics, his way of thinking about football, is very interesting, and it would be great if he was to get an opportunity at a top side.”