Manchester United appoint Ajax coach Erik ten Hag as next manager

Manchester United have appointed Ajax coach Erik ten Hag as their next manager.

The Dutchman, 52, will take over from interim boss Ralf Rangnick at the end of this season on a three-year deal which can be extended by a year.

Rangnick, who replaced the sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in November, is set to move into a consultancy role.

Ten Hag will become United’s fifth permanent manager since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.

“It is a great honour to be appointed manager of Manchester United and I am hugely excited by the challenge ahead,” said Ten Hag.

“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.”

United are sixth in the Premier League with five games remaining this season, three points behind Tottenham, who occupy the fourth Champions League spot.

Ajax are top of the Dutch Eredivisie – four points clear of PSV Eindhoven – with five matches left, although they lost to their rivals in the Dutch Cup final.

Ten Hag, who took over as Ajax head coach since December 2017, led them to the league and cup double in 2018-19 and 2020-21.

They reached the semi-finals of the 2018-19 Champions League and were within a minute of making the final, only to be denied by a remarkable Tottenham comeback.

United’s choice had narrowed to Ten Hag and Paris St-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino, after Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui had also been spoken to about the role.

Ten Hag is expected to bring in a former United coach or player as part of his backroom team, given it is unlikely the remaining link to the Solskjaer era, Mike Phelan, will remain at the club.

Ten Hag joined Ajax after two and a half years at Utrecht, having previously coached Bayern Munich’s second team, where he worked with Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.

Solskjaer was sacked following a 4-1 defeat at Watford that left United seventh in the table.

Since Rangnick officially took charge on 3 December, United have a record of nine wins, six draws and four defeats in 19 league games.

They were knocked out of the Champions League in the last 16 by Atletico Madrid and lost to Championship side Middlesbrough in the FA Cup fourth round.

After Tuesday’s 4-0 league defeat by Liverpool, Rangnick said United might need as many as 10 new players this summer.

On Wednesday it was announced that chief scout Jim Lawlor and head of global scouting Marcel Bout had left United.

Solskjaer was given a three-year deal in March 2019 after initially taking over on an interim basis from Jose Mourinho, before signing a new contract until 2024 in July last year.

He led United to third in the league in his first full season in charge and second the following campaign, when they were beaten in the Europa League final by Villarreal.

David Moyes, earmarked as Ferguson’s long-term successor and given a six-year contract, was sacked in his first season in 2013-14.

His replacement Louis van Gaal left after two seasons in charge despite winning the FA Cup in his final game.

Mourinho delivered League Cup and Europa League success in his first season, and a Premier League runners-up spot in his second, before he was sacked in December 2018, with United sixth in the table but closer to the relegation zone than the top.

bbc.com