Man Utd: Ex-Real Madrid manager ‘ahead’ of three rivals in race to replace ‘almost sentenced’ Ten Hag

Lewis Oldham
Man Utd-linked Lopetegui
Julen Lopetegui and Zinedine Zidane.

According to reports, Julen Lopetegui is ‘very well placed’ to replace Erik ten Hag at Premier League giants Manchester United.

Ten Hag has only been Man Utd’s manager for around 18 months but he is under increasing pressure following their exit from the Champions League.

The Red Devils needed to beat Bayern Munich on Tuesday night to give themselves any chance of qualifying for the knockout stages but they were beaten 1-0. This result saw them finish on just four points after conceding 15 goals in six group matches.

Man Utd also exited the Carabao Cup prematurely and they are sixth in the Premier League heading into Sunday’s trip to Anfield to face arch-rivals Liverpool.

Ahead of that game, Ten Hag is the second-favourite to be the next Premier League manager sacked amid reports linking Man Utd with Lopetegui.

The Spaniard is a highly-respected head coach who has previously managed Real Madrid and Spain. He has been out of work since leaving Wolves in the summer.

Lopetegui was in the running for last season’s Premier League Manager of the Year award as he successfully guided them to safety but he left over the summer after butting heads with club chiefs over recruitment.

It has been widely reported that he is eyeing a return to the Premier League after he rejected a ‘dizzying’ offer to join the Saudi Pro League.

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Spanish outlet Relevo are now reporting that Lopetegui is ‘gaining strength’ as Man Utd consider replacements for Ten Hag.

The Dutchman is said to be ‘almost sentenced’ and Lopetegui is ‘very well placed’ to replace him as United chiefs ‘value him highly’.

The Man Utd job is said to ‘fit perfectly’ with what Lopetegui is looking for. The report adds.

‘The Red Devils board values the work that Julen did at Wolverhampton, his command of the language and his knowledge of the competition, as well as his experience in Europe.

‘This puts him ahead of other names that have been mentioned in recent hours, such as Zinedine Zidane, Graham Potter or Roberto De Zerbi.

‘Another factor to take into account for Lopetegui to gain more and more strength is his good relationship with a large part of the locker room. He was Reguilon’s main supporter from his time at the Bernabeu and he has a very good relationship with Varane and Casemiro, two heavyweights in the United dugout.’

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