Manchester United fans needed some good news after their shambolic 4-0 defeat to Liverpool on Tuesday – and they appear to have got it with confirmation Erik ten Hag will arrive from Ajax this summer. The Dutchman is tasked with delivering the first sustained title challenge in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era, with the club in disarray and a host of star players linked with the Old Trafford exit.
Manchester United have turned to Erik ten Hag to lead their revival mission, with the Dutchman penning a three-year deal at Old Trafford with the option of a fourth.
The Ajax boss will replace interim manager Ralf Rangnick in the summer in the knowledge a huge rebuild is needed in the northwest.
Ten Hag looks unlikely to experience Champions League football in his first season, with United three points of adrift in the top-four race and only five games to turn it around – one fewer than rivals Tottenham and Arsenal.
“It is a great honour to be appointed manager of Manchester United and I am hugely excited by the challenge ahead,” said Ten Hag.
“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.
“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.”
United have struggled since the departure of legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013. David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Rangnick have all tried – and largely failed – to deliver the results and success the supporters had become so accustomed to. Now Ten Hag joins that list hoping to fire-up a belated and sustained title charge in the Premier League.
The 4-0 defeat to Liverpool on Tuesday was arguably the lowest moment in a season of downers, which has seen United bow out in the Champions League last 16 and exit both domestic cup before the fifth round.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford are among the names linked with summer exits from Old Trafford after a chastening season that has seen United slip further adrift of Premier League pacesetters Manchester City and Liverpool.
“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,” said United football director John Murtough.
“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.”
Ajax are currently four points clear at the top of the Eredivisie with five games left to play. They lost to PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch Cup final on Sunday.
Ten Hag won the Dutch title in 2019 and 2021 with Ajax and also guided them to the Champions League semi-finals in 2019, where they crashed out to Tottenham in dramatic fashion.
“Four and a half years is a good amount of time, but we would have liked to have kept Erik at Ajax for longer. He is going to make the step to one of the biggest clubs in the world, in a fantastic league,” Ajax chief executive and former United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar told the Dutch club’s website.
“We owe Erik a lot of thanks for what he has achieved with Ajax so far, but we are not done yet. At the end of the season, I will look back more extensively on his departure. For now, what matters is the final games of the season in which we all want to bring home the league title.”
Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino was also thought to be in consideration to take over at Old Trafford.