Football News

Erik ten Hag to Man United: Odds slashed on Ajax boss to replace Rangnick after ‘secret interview’

By Harry Edwards

Published: 17:10, 24 March 2022 | Updated: 20:39, 24 November 2022

Manchester United’s chase for a new manager has stepped up according to reports and Ajax manager Erik ten Hag is emerging as the front-runner.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked by the Red Devils in November and replaced by Ralf Rangnick, but the former RB Leipzig manager was only appointed on an interim role until the end of the season.

While in the past at other clubs interim roles have led to permanent appointments, Rangnick won’t be manager at Man Utd next season, remaining at the club in a consultancy role instead. So, with less than two months of the 2021/22 season remaining, Man Utd have started to dedicate their attention to finding the next boss.

There are a few names being thrown around including Mauricio Pochettino and Thomas Tuchel, but Ten Hag appears to be the new favourite.

According to the Telegraph, Man Utd have already interviewed Ten Hag for the role, with talks reportedly “positive” and focusing on the Dutchman’s philosophy and future plans for the club. And this news has seen Ten Hag move to odds-on favourite to be next Man Utd manager at the start of the 2022/23 season.

The Dutchman’s odds have been cut to just 1/3 from 13/8 overnight with Betfair. While he was still the favourite at 13/8, this drop shows just how much he is being backed to replace Rangnick after the latest news.

Paris Saint-Germain manager Pochettino is 13/2 to take over next at Old Trafford and is still the favourite with some fans, while Chelsea boss Tuchel is 15/2. The likes of Luis Enrique (16/1), Antonio Conte (16/1) and Julen Lopetegui (20/1) are also featured in the conversation but those appear to be the outsiders.

Ten Hag earned his interview by taking from the edge of the wilderness to the top of Dutch football once again and even made them contenders in the Champions League. When Ten Hag replaced Marcel Keizer in December 2017, Ajax were out of Europe and on their way to another season without winning the Eredivisie – last tasting glory in 2013/14.

PSV did take the title that season but from Ten Hag’s first full campaign as Ajax manager the Amsterdam side have dominated. They won the league in 2018/19 and 2020/21 while being joint-top in 2019/20 before the campaign was curtailed, and are currently two points clear of second-placed PSV in 2021/22.

But the success story many will point to is the 2018/19 Champions League when Ajax reached the semi-finals, knocking out Real Madrid and Juventus before losing to Tottenham Hotspur by the agony of away goals – losing a 3-0 aggregate lead.

However, some still aren’t sold on Ten Hag. When pondering between Ten Hag and Pochettino on Twitter, former Man Utd defender Gary Neville went for the ex-Tottenham Hotspur manager.

“Personally I would go for Pochettino but Ten Hag is the massive favourite of United fans to take the club forward,” he tweeted on Wednesday.

“That’s if it is a clear choice between the 2.”

Pochettino is currently in his first full season as PSG boss after replacing Tuchel last year and has them on course to win Ligue 1, 12 points clear of second-placed Marseille with nine games left to play.

But he has failed to deliver the big one, with PSG knocked out of the Champions League last-16 by Real Madrid, surrendering a 2-0 aggregate lead. PSG have also lost four of their past six games across all competitions, adding to the unhappiness in Paris.