Erik ten Hag has demanded Ajax players ignore transfer speculation at a time where he’s being linked with Manchester United, it has been claimed. The 52-year-old has been in charge of the Eredivisie outfit ever since December 2018. And his fine work di lui in Amsterdam has made him a contender to be named Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s permanent replacement at Old Trafford at the end of the season.
Manchester United are readying for the start of another new era.
David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Solskjaer have all been hired and fired in the years since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, with all four men unable to win the Premier League or Champions League titles.
While United have been linked with Mauricio Pochettino, Julen Lopetegui and Luis Enrique, it’s Ten Hag who is now the frontrunner to take charge this summer.
The Ajax boss is ready to leave the Dutch giants to pursue a new challenge after nearly five years working in Amsterdam.
And Freek Jansen, speaking to the Pak Schaal Podcast, has claimed United have been admirers of Ten Hag for a ‘long time’ while claiming the Ajax boss has demanded his players drown out the noise over his own and their futures.
“Manchester United have wanted him for a long time, they have been interested for a long time,” he said.
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“Ten Hag is very straightforward, stubborn and idiosyncratic, but everything has to be right if he wants to leave Ajax.
“He is still having a fantastic time.”
United know they need to get this appointment right or risk falling even further behind the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea.
But it’s looking increasingly likely Ten Hag will be given the chance to take over, making him the second Dutch manager in their history.
Van Gaal was the first, with the former Bayern Munich and Barcelona boss given the job after Moyes’ sacking in 2014.
He guided the club into the Champions League in his first season before going on to clinch FA Cup glory the following year.
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Yet Van Gaal ended up being relieved of his duties in 2016, with Mourinho then installed as his Galactico replacement.
In the summer of 2020, the current Netherlands boss hit out at United and revealed he wanted the likes of Neymar, Sadio Mane and N’Golo Kante.
“I wanted Robert Lewandowski, but when this proved difficult I tried to get Gonzalo Higuain instead,” he said.
“Before I had arrived, I also spoke with the board about Neymar.
“If you are at United, you have to think big – he was also interesting for the club in terms of selling shirts, and I wanted to have quick wingers.
“For that reason, I also tried to get Sadio Mane and Riyad Mahrez. Thomas Muller was on my wish list, too, and in central midfield, I wanted N’Golo Kante.
“I even tried to sign James Milner, who was already quite old but very multifunctional and possessed leadership skills.
“For the defense, I wanted Sergio Ramos and Mats Hummels, because ours wasn’t the strongest in building from the back.
“Those were my top targets, but we couldn’t get any of them. I don’t know why, because as the manager I wasn’t involved in any negotiations.
“After I left, players like Mahrez and Kante ended up at Manchester City and Chelsea, while United couldn’t get them. I found that very odd.”