Manchester United have confirmed the permanent appointment of Erik ten Hag from Ajax.
The 52-year-old Dutchman joins the club on a three-year deal with an option to extend by an additional 12 months. He will take over in the summer at the conclusion of the 2021/22 season.
Ten Hag said: “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.
“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.”
Man United football director John Murtough added: “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.”
Man Utd have been in the hunt for a permanent successor to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after the Norwegian was relieved of his duties at the end of November.
Ten Hag comes in as the fifth permanent manager at Old Trafford since Sir Alex Ferguson called time on his career in 2013.
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In their own statement, Ajax stressed the fact Ten Hag is “not done yet” with the Eredivisie title still to play for.
Edwin van der Sar, former United goalkeeper now serving as Ajax’s CEO, said: “Four and a half years is a good amount of time, but we would have liked to have kept Erik at Ajax for longer. He is going to make the step to one of the biggest clubs in the world, in a fantastic league.”
Ten Hag himself explained the early announcement: “I’m happy that it has been finalized and that it has been officially announced. That clarity is important. But I only have one interest now and that’s these last five games. I want to finish my time here on a positive note, by winning the league. By doing so, we’ll qualify directly for the Champions League. Ajax belongs there.”
Ralf Rangnick has had the reins on an interim basis since the start of December and the German is set to take up a consultancy role at the end of the campaign.
The tactically-celebrated coach has endured a mixed existence as United’s temporary incumbent since pitching up four months ago.
As things stand, the club are currently outside the Premier League top four and have been eliminated from every cup competition, both domestically and in Europe.
Reacting to United’s 4-0 defeat to Liverpool on Tuesday, Ferdinand said on his Youtube channel FIVE: “You sit there and you just think what is it? We’ve seen managers come and go.
“There’s a new manager coming in, is he really going to change it? He’s got to be Einstein to come and change the fortunes of this club.”
Ten Hag’s appointment has been hailed as a coup for the club given what he has achieved in Amsterdam, and many believe he is the man capable of recapturing the halcyon days of Ferguson’s glorious tenure.
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His possession-based style of play is one that should chime with the demands of a fanbase who have become accustomed to a fluid brand of football over the years, while a shrewd recruitment policy and a penchant for developing youth are both policies that will sit well with the club’s hierarchy.
Under his watch, Ajax have once against established themselves as a genuine European powerhouse, reaching the Champions League semi-finals in 2018/19, while they have secured three Eredivisie titles in a row, having previously missed out on the Dutch championship in four successive seasons.
The Amsterdammers had a rebuild when Ten Hag replaced Marcel Keizer in December 2017, and the United board will be hoping he can produce a similar end product at Old Trafford when he joins the club this summer.
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