Erik ten Hag: Manchester United appoint Ajax head coach as new permanent manager

Ten Hag becomes United’s fifth permanent manager since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement

Mark Critchley
Northern Football Correspondent
Thursday 21 April 2022 13:13 BST
Ten Hag: ‘I am determined to develop a team capable of delivering success’
Ten Hag: ‘I am determined to develop a team capable of delivering success’ (ANP/AFP/Getty)

Manchester United have appointed Erik ten Hag as their new permanent manager, signing a three-year contract with the option to extend it a further 12 months.

The Ajax head coach becomes Old Trafford’s fifth permanent manager since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, succeeding Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and replacing interim Ralf Rangnick.

Ten Hag will see out the remainder of the season with Ajax, who he is hoping to lead to a third Eredivisie title in three years, before taking up the reins at United this summer.

Reports suggest he will have a final say on transfers from this summer onwards. United have activated a €2m (£1.7m) release clause for the Dutchman.

“It is a great honour to be appointed manager of Manchester United and I am hugely excited by the challenge ahead. I know the history of this great club and the passion of the fans, and I am absolutely determined to develop a team capable of delivering the success they deserve,” Ten Hag said.

“It will be difficult to leave Ajax after these incredible years, and I can assure our fans of my complete commitment and focus on bringing this season to a successful conclusion before I move to Manchester United.”

The 52-year-old has established a reputation as one of European football’s most exciting coaches during his time in Amsterdam, having led Ajax to the Champions League semi-finals in 2019.

United’s football director John Murtough, who led the recruitment process, said: “During the past four years at Ajax, Erik has proved himself to be one of the most exciting and successful coaches in Europe, renowned for his team’s attractive, attacking football and commitment to youth.

“In our conversations with Erik leading up to this appointment, we were deeply impressed with his long-term vision for returning Manchester United to the level we want to be competing at, and his drive and determination to achieve that.

“We wish Erik the best of luck as he focuses on achieving a successful end to the season at Ajax and look forward to welcoming him to Manchester United this summer.”

At the Amsterdam Arena, where Ten Hag arrived in 2017 after two years at Utrecht and two years with Bayern Munich’s second team, the Dutch boss has landed two league titles and two Dutch Cups. He had also guided his team to the top of the table during the 2019/20 campaign at the time when the pandemic hit, which ultimately saw the season abandoned and no champion crowned.

More recently, Ajax lost last week to PSV in the final of the KNVB Beker – the national cup – as Ten Hag sought a third trophy in that competition. Though Ajax still lead PSV in the Eredivisie table, with a four-point advantage ahead of the final five games of the season.

United, meanwhile, are facing an uphill battle to ensure Ten Hag’s first season with them will be a Champions League campaign.

They sit sixth in the Premier League table, three points behind both Arsenal and Tottenham having played a game more. Rangnick takes the Red Devils to the Emirates to face Arsenal on Saturday.

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