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Ten Hag stays: ‘Secret’ Man Utd manager target ‘spoken’ to but ‘crucial’ factor forced Ratcliffe’s final decision

Ten Hag stays: ‘Secret’ Man Utd manager target ‘spoken’ to but ‘crucial’ factor forced Ratcliffe’s final decision

According to reports, Manchester United ‘spoke’ with as many as five potential new managers before deciding to stick with Erik ten Hag.

The Dutchman’s job had been in doubt for much of the 2023/24 campaign as his side produced several dire performances en route to finishing eighth in the Premier League.

Ten Hag… Stays!

Man Utd‘s season ended on a high as they beat arch-rivals Man City in the final of the FA Cup, while they won their final two Premier League games against Newcastle United and Brighton.

An internal review at Old Trafford – led by United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his new-look recruitment team – has been ongoing over the past couple of weeks as key figures considered whether to sack Ten Hag.

As this has been ongoing, Man Utd have been considering several potential replacements. Thomas Tuchel and Mauricio Pochettino ended up being ‘ruled out’, while England boss Gareth Southgate has admirers at Old Trafford but is unwilling to weigh up his next move until Euro 2024 is finished. 

With the Red Devils short on options, it was revealed on Tuesday night that they are sticking with Ten Hag, who is set to be offered a new contract.

It has since been claimed that Man Utd are ‘biding their time’ to land one manager to replace Ten Hag, but according to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, their injury crisis was “impossible to ignore” and club chiefs felt it was a “crucial point in terms of why the season was so poor”.

“The injuries were something discussed in this long review by Manchester United, with the directors, the board, and also co-owners INEOS really active in this – Sir Jim Ratcliffe himself was working on this review to make the best decision possible for Manchester United,” Romano said in his Daily Briefing column.

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“This review ended up taking more than two weeks, because they wanted to consider all the options available for the best solution for the club.

“This means that, yes, Manchester United met some managers. Thomas Tuchel had a direct meeting with Sir Jim Ratcliffe – they decided not to continue with this meeting, but it did take place, and I can guarantee that Man United also met other managers, not only Tuchel, because they wanted to have a clear picture of all the options available on the market.

“Still, despite meeting with numerous agents and representatives, they never decided to make an advanced proposal to any candidate.

“In the end, the feeling was that they wanted to take their time, and now they are sure, after final meetings, that Ten Hag is the man they want to keep. They know Ten Hag was not able to do his best job as manager with this incredible amount of injuries, they feel this is unacceptable, and Ten Hag spoke about it publicly as well, saying that he had to change his back line more than thirty times – this is not normal, especially when you are a top club, so to fix the injury situation is a total priority for Manchester United.”

📣TO THE COMMENTS! Are Man Utd right to stick with Ten Hag? Join the debate here

Romano also reveals Man Utd held talks with a ‘secret manager’ who he’ll speak on “in the future”, while four other alternatives were “options”.

“In terms of the managers they considered, we already mentioned Tuchel, but also options like Mauricio Pochettino and Gareth Southgate,” Romano added.

“Despite some reports to the contrary, Southgate was never close to the job and he never wanted to entertain any proposals before the Euros with England, and for Manchester United to wait more than one month for their new manager was almost impossible.

“They also considered Roberto de Zerbi and also one more manager that I’m going to tell you about in the future – but after speaking to the representatives of different managers, they never really had the feeling that this was something they had to do right now.”

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