Erik ten Hag is the Man United hierarchy’s favoured choice to become their next manager but some players have reservations.
According to Manchester Evening News it was revealed Ten Hag is United’s preferred candidate last month – prior to his interview with the club – and United would only have to pay Ajax £1.7million to release Ten Hag from his contract.
A number of United players are excited by the prospect of being coached by Ten Hag and feel he would improve them, but sources close to other players say Ten Hag is viewed as an ‘underwhelming’ choice by some of them.
Mauricio Pochettino was the favoured pick among the majority of players two months ago but the club hierarchy is edging towards Ten Hag to become United’s second Dutch manager after Louis van Gaal. Ajax, who enjoy a warm relationship with United, are prepared to let Ten Hag leave a year before his contract is due to expire.
Disenchantment is still rife in the United squad, with the mood worsened by Saturday’s fortuitous 1-1 draw with Leicester City. United dropped to seventh in the Premier League table after West Ham beat Everton on Sunday.
Interim manager Ralf Rangnick’s decision not to start Marcus Rashford, despite the absence of fellow forwards Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood, is believed to have baffled some teammates.
Ten Hag presided over a 3-1 Ajax win at Groningen on Saturday that extended their lead at the top of the Eredivisie by four points, as PSV Eindhoven drew 3-3 at Twente. Ajax face PSV in the KNVB Cup final as they attempt to secure a domestic double.
Last week, Ten Hag described United as a ‘great club with great fans’ in an interview conducted after Ajax had given him permission to speak to United.
“Everyone knows each other in the industry,” Ten Hag told Sport1. “There are always talks with representatives from other clubs, that’s normal.
“Manchester United is a great club with great fans. But I can only repeat myself: My full focus is completely on Ajax. We are already planning for the new season.”
Rangnick indicated the club had interviewed more than one candidate for the managerial post, believed to be Pochettino. “I know they have spoken to some people but so far we haven’t spoken about the experience and the impressions they have got from those meetings.
“It’s not an issue for me. For me, it’s important to focus on the next games.”