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Ajax Manager Erik ten Hag Emerges as one of the Heavyweights to Replace Ole at United

Erik ten Hag, United manager

Manchester United’s abysmal form has resulted in huge pressure on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s future at Old Trafford. According to various reports, the United hierarchy are now ready to take the required step if results do not improve after the international break. Therefore, naturally, the names of various managers are now being speculated to succeed Ole at United and one of the heavyweights being linked is the current Ajax manager Erik ten Hag, according to MEN.

Erik Ten Hag, Dutch Manager
Image obtained via Sky Sports

Both fans and critics have turned their backs on Solskjaer after a run of four losses in six league games including the home losses to Liverpool and City. The Norwegian has found it hard to solve the club’s problems on the pitch with United dropping to sixth on the points table.

Ole’s sacking and replacement are now the number one topics across all the major tabloids. New reports have emerged that although Solskjaer will be present against Watford after the international break, his future after that depends on the revival of fortunes at Old Trafford.

One of the major factors behind the board’s hesitation to sack Ole is the lack of a suitable replacement. Many of the top targets are unavailable right now. The list includes current Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers, German manager Ralf Rangnick, currently employed at Lokomotiv Moscow as Head of Sports, and Ajax manager Erik ten Hag.

The Dutch manager is receiving huge appreciation for Ajax’s performance this season. His team currently sits first in both the Eredivisie and their Champions League group. They are unbeaten in the Champions League this season so far, having won 4-0 and 3-1 in their last matches against Dortmund. This has forced the United decision-makers to take notice of the Ajax boss.

Erik ten Hag first gained the world’s attention when he led the Dutch club to the semis of the Champions League in 2019, where a hat-trick from Tottenham’s Lucas Moura in the second-leg eliminated them. He has won two Eredivisie titles with de Godenzonen. His work at Ajax for the past four years speaks volumes about his managerial instincts and ability.

Erik Ten Hag, Dutch manager
Image obtained via 90Min

The Dutchman began his managerial career in 2012 with Go Ahead Eagles, where he was appointed by Marc Overmars. He was successful in getting the club promoted from the Erste Divisie to the Eredivisie through the playoffs in his only season with the club.

Bayern Munich then approached him to take over their reserve team. From there, Ten Hag built the gameplay and philosophy that we see today with Ajax. It would not be wrong to say that Pep Guardiola, who was then the first team manager of the German club, inspired his style and fundamentals.

Erik ten Hag encourages his team to press high and make quick meaningful passes to retain possession. However, he doesn’t hesitate to adapt his tactics according to the opposition. For a team sitting back and overloading players in the box, he uses his wingers and full-backs to stretch the team’s backline and find space within.

In 2015, the Dutchman attained the roles of both manager and sporting director at Utrecht. There he was heavily involved in scouting players that fit his style of play. This helped the team immensely, and could come in handy for United as well, which does not lack talented individuals but the understanding to play together.

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He even achieved European success with the club, which was quite impressive. He proved his pedigree by taking a mid-table Eredivisie side to the Europa League qualifiers. His success with Utrecht resulted in Ajax appointing him in December 2017 after dismissing Marcel Keizer.

Thus, Erik ten Hag can certainly improve the present situation at Old Trafford if given the chance, and this comes not just based upon his current work at Ajax. He has proven himself several times at clubs with a much lower budget than the English giants. The question is whether the United hierarchy will actually take such a harsh stance against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, or if this is mere speculation.

Stay tuned to know more about United.

Abir Chaudhuri
A football fan who loves to write about the game.

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