Manchester United managerial hopeful Erik ten Hag would earmark a role in the dugout for current interim boss Ralf Rangnick even though the German will taken on a consultancy role
Erik ten Hag is ready to answer Manchester United’s SOS – and the Dutchman is also open to having Ralf Rangnick alongside him on the bench.
Ten Hag has hinted he is looking for a new challenge after Marc Overmars’ shameful exit as Ajax’s director of football prompted the Dutchman to consider his own future at the Amsterdam club.
He is also growing frustrated by the huge turnover of players he has to deal with because of Ajax’s policy of selling top talent at the right price – and the constant challenge of having to rebuild his team.
Ten Hag said: “The lifespan of our team has always been short in recent years.
“I understood – and still understand – the sale of players.
“But you can hardly cope with such bloodletting if you want to continue to play a significant role in the Champions League.
“You need giant players for that – and Ajax can not buy that calibre of players.”
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Ten Hag has worked closely with Overmars to turn Ajax back into Holland’s most dominant club.
The four-time European champions are chasing their third successive Eredivisie title and will move into the Champions League quarter-finals if they beat Benfica in Amsterdam on Tuesday night after drawing the first leg 2-2.
Ajax were just seconds away from reaching the 2019 final.
Ten Hag has strong support inside Old Trafford that he can be the man to revive the Reds – including interim boss Rangnick.
Mauricio Pochettino is also in the frame.
But while the Argentine’s failure to guide Paris Saint-Germain past Real Madrid in the Champions League after holding a two-goal advantage means he could be back on the job market in the summer, his standing has been damaged by his team’s midweek capitulation in the Bernabeu.
United are also monitoring Thomas Tuchel’s position at crisis-hit Chelsea – but have so far resisted the temptation to make even tentative contact with the German as he digests the shock of seeing the London club placed in limbo by the government’s decision to sanction Russian owner Roman Abramovich.
Ten Hag’s willingness to forge a strong working relationship with a director of football could give him an edge.
He worked with Overmars at Go Ahead Eagles at the start of his managerial career and then again at Ajax.
In between the 52-year-old spent two years coaching Bayern Munich’s second team and as the sporting director of Utrecht.
It is common in Germany for technical directors to be a presence on the touchline alongside managerial and coaching staff.
Interim United boss Rangnick will take up a two-year consultancy role at Old Trafford at the end of the season and would be an experienced sounding board for any new manager.
Ten Hag admitted he would have liked Overmars to have joined him on the bench before the former Arsenal winger was forced to step down after sending sexually explicit texts and emails to female members of staff.
Ten Hag said: “Ideally, I wanted Marc on the bench. I don’t have to think twice about that.
“I started to believe in that construction when I was working in Germany.
“My education as a manager in top level football I had at Bayern Munich. There is hardly a better education for a coach or a manager.
“I love the German model. In Germany it is a common thing that sporting directors sit right next to you on the bench there.
“If you have a good sporting director, you know he takes a lot of the noise away around the manager – both internally and to the outside world.
“He will back you up and will also take away all the hassle with football agents.
“That way I can fully concentrate on the team and the development of the players.
“I can only see the advantages of a sporting director close to you on the bench.
“I want a sporting director who can be honest and straight.
“If something is not right, you know quickly and can be told to your face because you work with each other every day.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism