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Manchester United hierarchy 'planning Erik ten Hag sack strategy'

Man United hierarchy 'planning Erik ten Hag sack strategy'
© Reuters
Manchester United stakeholder Sir Jim Ratcliffe is reportedly working on a strategy to sack Erik ten Hag, but there are currently no plans to give the Dutchman the boot.

The powers-that-be at Manchester United are reportedly working on a strategy to sever ties with Erik ten Hag should they decide that change is needed this summer.

A question mark has been hanging over the 54-year-old's head for several months now, as Man United are at serious risk of missing out on a spot in the Champions League for 2024-25.

Alongside finishing bottom of their continental group this season, the Red Devils have lost 12 of their 31 Premier League games to sit sixth in the rankings, 11 points off the top four and Aston Villa in fifth position.

Ten Hag recently affirmed that he has no doubts about his future at Old Trafford, where he remains under contract until the end of next season, and he could still deliver FA Cup glory to Man United this season.

The Red Devils face a highly winnable semi-final with Coventry City later this month, before taking on either Chelsea or defending champions Manchester City for a shot at domestic glory at Wembley.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag looks dejected after Chelsea are awarded a penalty on April 4, 2024© Reuters

No immediate plans to sack Ten Hag

Ten Hag oversaw a magnificent 4-3 quarter-final win over Liverpool to reach the last four, and according to the i, that seven-goal success has earned him enough credit in the bank to avoid being given the boot this summer.

While INEOS chief Sir Jim Ratcliffe has not come out and publicly said that he wants the 54-year-old to remain in charge next term, the report adds that the club are planning for the 2024-25 campaign with Ten Hag at the helm.

Furthermore, the final say on Ten Hag's future would supposedly not lie with Ratcliffe or his lieutenant Sir Dave Brailsford; instead, new chief executive Omar Berrada and prospective sporting director Dan Ashworth would pull the trigger if they had a change of heart.

Despite there being no immediate plans to give Ten Hag the boot, the Red Devils are working on an action plan to seamlessly part ways with the former Ajax boss and quickly hire a successor, as part of their internal shift under Ratcliffe.

The 71-year-old apparently believes that Man United have been adopting a "reactive" rather than "proactive" approach for too long, and drawing up a strategy for firing and hiring managers will make the transition easier when the necessity arises.

Who are the contenders to succeed Ten Hag?

England manager Gareth Southgate reacts on March 23, 2024© Reuters

While Ten Hag will be casting one eye over to the 2024-25 campaign, the Red Devils hierarchy will still be vetting potential successors if immediate change is required, and several high-profile names have been mooted.

England head coach Gareth Southgate is potentially the most noteworthy candidate under consideration, as it is unclear whether the ex-Middlesbrough boss will continue as Three Lions manager beyond the end of Euro 2024.

The same can be said of Germany boss Julian Nagelsmann, while Graham Potter remains out of a job since leaving Chelsea last year and has apparently turned down the chance to take charge of Ten Hag's old club Ajax.

A major roadblock also appears to have been removed in Man United's efforts to hire Brighton & Hove Albion manager Roberto De Zerbi, who was thought to be on Liverpool's shortlist, but the Reds are now understood to have reached a verbal agreement with Sporting Lisbon head coach Ruben Amorim.

Bologna's Thiago Motta is also rumoured to have admirers at Old Trafford, but the former Paris Saint-Germain midfielder is now believed to be on the verge of taking charge of Juventus.

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Bologna coach Thiago Motta before the match on January 9, 2024
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