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What Erik ten Hag 'told Manchester United at his job interview'

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Fixing up a team that’s ‘some way’ off Champions League shape on fitness, a list of transfer targets including Ajax stars – and it’s all in a five-year plan: What Erik ten Hag ‘told Man United at his job interview’

  • Erik ten Hag told Man United chiefs that he needs five years to overhaul the club
  • The Ajax boss is one of two leading contenders to take over at Old Trafford
  • Mauricio Pochettino is also a leading candidate to swap PSG for Man United
  • Ten Hag said United players must improve their fitness and gave transfer targets 

Erik ten Hag told Manchester United chiefs that he needs five years to turn them around as he laid out his vision for the club if he is to take over at Old Trafford.

The Dutchman also demanded that United stars improve their fitness levels to compete at the top level and delivered a list of transfer targets – that included some of his Ajax players. 

Sportsmail reported last month that the Dutchman was interviewed by United chiefs as they ponder who to appoint as the long-term successor to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Erik ten Hag told Manchester United chiefs that he needs five years to turn them around

Erik ten Hag told Manchester United chiefs that he needs five years to turn them around

The Dutchman also demanded that United stars improve their fitness levels to compete

The Dutchman also demanded that United stars improve their fitness levels to compete

Ajax’s Ten Hag and Mauricio Pochettino, currently at Paris Saint-Germain, are the front runners to take over from interim boss Ralf Rangnick this summer when he moves into an advisory role.

According to The Independent, Ten Hag stated that he believes the Old Trafford role is a ‘five-year project’ during his talks with the club – with football director John Murtough and technical director Darren Fletcher leading the recruitment process.

It’s claimed Ten Hag arrived at his interview with a ‘dossier’ on the existing United squad, who have expressed concern about the Dutchman taking over in recent weeks.

Ten Hag insisted that the current crop of players are nowhere near ‘Champions League shape’ and would need to drastically improve their fitness levels if they are to compete with the likes of Liverpool, Real Madrid, Man City and Bayern Munich.

Ten Hag went on to propose a list of transfer targets that he would be desperate to bring to Old Trafford should he get the job and it included a handful of players in his Ajax squad.

Ten Hag stated that he believes the Old Trafford role is a'five-year project' during his talks

Ten Hag stated that he believes the Old Trafford role is a ‘five-year project’ during his talks

However, it’s also reported that Ten Hag ‘has not blown people away’ at United in the recruitment process and didn’t make a strong impression on those leading the search.

It’s thought a lack of charisma cost Ten Hag in the race to become Tottenham manager last summer – when they appointed Nuno Espirito Santo from Wolves instead.

Sportsmail reported last week that United were informed Ten Hag will be available for as little as £1.6million in compensation this summer. 

United chiefs made enquiries as to how much it will cost to release Ten Hag from his contract from the Amsterdam club and it’s believed Ajax would be due €2m (£1.6m) for Ten Hag, who signed a new two year contract with the Dutch club last summer.

However, Ajax would also demand compensation for any staff Ten Hag decides to bring with him from Amsterdam which would push the total package closer to the £2million mark.

The comparatively small compensation fee to lure Ten Hag would not prove preventative for United should they decide the 52-year-old is the man they want to replace interim boss Ralph Rangnick ahead of next season.

Ten Hag went on to propose a list of transfer targets - including players in his Ajax squa

Ten Hag went on to propose a list of transfer targets – including players in his Ajax squa

Pochettino is the other main contender to take the helm at United this summer, although it would cost significantly more to lure him away from PSG.

The Argentine is expected to leave the French club at the end of the season regardless of how their campaign ends, with Zinedine Zidane and Antonio Conte among the managers interesting the Ligue 1 side.

United will hold an extra round of talks with the candidates before moving to appoint their next boss. 

According to the Guardian, Steve McClaren is under consideration to be prospective manager Ten Hag’s assistant if he is appointed as their new man in the dugout for next season.

The pair know each other well with Ten Hag having been McClaren’s assistant for the 2008-09 season at Dutch outfit Twente.

A move to Old Trafford would be McClaren’s second spell at the club, having been legendary figure Sir Alex Ferguson’s assistant between 1999 and 2001. The now 60-year-old’s first campaign coincided with their iconic Treble-winning haul.

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