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Manchester United explores potential managerial successors as Erik ten Hag's future hangs in balance

Posted : 07 March 2024

Manchester United is reportedly considering options for potential successors to current manager Erik ten Hag, with Roberto De Zerbi, Thomas Frank, and Gareth Southgate emerging as prime candidates. While no decision has been made on Ten Hag's future, sources indicate that the club's owners, Ineos, are actively assessing various managerial options amid uncertainties about the Dutch manager's tenure.


Ineos, who recently acquired a 27.7% stake in Manchester United, is conducting a structural review led by director of sport Sir Dave Brailsford. Contingency plans for Ten Hag's potential departure are being drawn up, aiming to prevent unpreparedness during a summer where several top clubs, including Liverpool, Bayern Munich, and Barcelona, are seeking new managers.


Ten Hag, hired in June 2022, is under pressure to secure Champions League qualification to meet financial fair play regulations. Despite recent losses in the Premier League, sources indicate that United acknowledges Ten Hag's high standing in Europe. Interest in the Dutch manager has also been noted from Germany, where Bayer Leverkusen and Vfb Stuttgart might present attractive managerial vacancies.


Roberto De Zerbi, Brighton's head coach, and Thomas Frank, Brentford's head coach, are among the candidates being considered. Frank's success in building an energetic team at Brentford, along with his embrace of a data-led approach to recruitment, has garnered admiration. Gareth Southgate is seen as an outsider, given his current role as England manager and no recent involvement in club football. However, his prior connections with Ineos director of sport Sir Dave Brailsford and discussions with sporting director Dan Ashworth could be factors in the decision-making process.


While uncertainties surround Ten Hag's future, sources suggest that his ability to back young talents and potentially lead the team to a successful end of the season could influence the decision-making process. The cost implications of compensating Ten Hag and securing a new manager remain factors to be considered, but Manchester United is actively planning for every eventuality in the current state of uncertainty at the club.


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