Erik ten Hag, the former Ajax boss, has been linked with Manchester United’s permanent managerial role. The Dutchman has earned plaudits for his remarkable success at Ajax, guiding them to two Eredivisie titles. He also led the Amsterdam-based club to the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2019. However, Ajax suffered a 2-0 defeat to Tottenham, resulting in them missing out on a place in the final.
It has been a rocky season for Manchester United. After starting with two defeats, followed by Cristiano Ronaldo’s acrimonious exit and a record 7-0 mauling at arch rivals Liverpool, Ten Hag deserves huge credit for steering United to a top-four finish. The Old Trafford club’s recent form has been impressive, with just one loss in their last ten matches.
Ten Hag is renowned for his ability to nurture young talent. At Ajax, he played a significant role in developing players like Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt, and Donny van de Beek. Manchester United has a reputation for making signings that are already established and expensive. Under Ten Hag, however, United could see the emergence of young talent such as Amad Diallo, who has already shown glimpses of his potential.
United’s ownership structure, the Glazer family, are reportedly interested in Ajax’s youth policy. United is looking to develop young talent with the new manager, rather than spending on big-name transfers. The club’s model is now focused on promoting youth team players to the first team, with the likes of Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, and Brandon Williams all emerging from the academy in recent years.
Despite his credentials and achievements with Ajax, Ten Hag would still have to prove himself in the Premier League. It’s a notoriously tough league, and some high-profile coaches have crumbled in the past. In addition, Manchester United demands consistent success and expects managers to win trophies. Ten Hag’s last outing in Europe ended in disappointment, but there are high hopes that he could lead United to their first league title since 2013.