Man Utd ‘biding their time’ with Ten Hag because Southgate not available?

Man Utd: Gareth Southgate and Erik ten Hag
Gareth Southgate and Erik ten Hag

It seems ludicrous but Manchester United may have decided to stick with Erik ten Hag as Manchester United manager because they cannot yet appoint Gareth Southgate.

After an extensive Old Trafford review, the club has decided to continue with Ten Hag as manager despite an eighth-place finish in the Premier League and a disastrous Champions League campaign.

The club spoke to other potential candidates – including Thomas Tuchel – but eventually decided to stick with the Dutchman who had won an unexpected FA Cup final against Manchester City at the end of a largely terrible season.

But the Daily Telegraph reports: ‘It will also raise the suspicion that United actually cannot get their ideal candidate at present – potentially England manager Gareth Southgate – and are prepared to bide their time and see whether Ten Hag can turn around their fortunes.’

The idea that Southgate is the ideal Manchester United candidate seems preposterous but the club appears to have settled on the current England manager as the perfect man to work with Jason Wilcox as the club’s new technical director.

Southgate is still England manager and will not speak to Manchester United or any other club while he is in post, so Ten Hag will remain as United manager and will even be offered a new contract as his current deal expires at the end of the season.

It is thought that he will be given less responsibility for transfers under the new regime, which is wise considering his success rate is particularly poor.

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It is thought that Manchester United will now start planning for the summer and will recruit in three key positions: Centre-half, defensive midfield and a striker.

According to The Guardian, who had previously reported that Ten Hag would be sacked regardless of what happened in the FA Cup final, ‘Ratcliffe and his colleagues were impressed by last month’s 2-1 FA Cup final triumph over Manchester City which made it two trophies in Ten Hag’s two years in charge; the 54-year-old establishing Garnacho and Mainoo, who are 19, as first-team regulars; and the manager’s dedication. There is also recognition that André Onana and Mason Mount, who were signed last summer, are yet to fully settle.’