Ex-Chelsea boss ‘contender’ to replace Ten Hag at Man Utd as Romano gives Lopetegui update

Joe Williams
Man Utd targets Julen Lopetegui and Graham Potter
Julen Lopetegui and Graham Potter have both been linked with Erik ten Hag's job.

Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano insists that he is “not aware of any contact” between Manchester United and former Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui.

Erik ten Hag is under pressure after Man Utd were dumped out of Europe on Tuesday night as a 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich saw them finish bottom of their Champions League group.

A win wouldn’t have been enough to see them into the last-16 of the Champions League but it would’ve got them a place in the Europa League.

They crashed out of the League Cup earlier this season and it hasn’t been going well in the Premier League either, with a humiliating 3-0 loss to Bournemouth at the weekend seeing them remain in sixth position.

Man Utd are only six points off the top four positions but their poor performances, lack of goals and inconsistency means there is a lack of faith that Ten Hag’s side can achieve Champions League qualification.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is likely to complete a deal to buy 25 per cent of Man Utd from the Glazers over the coming weeks, before taking control of football operations, and there’s speculation that he could replace Ten Hag.

READ MORE:Man Utd: Ten Hag sack looming despite caveats compared to Liverpool and Arsenal

Former Wolves and Real Madrid manager Lopetegui is thought to be in the mix for the job but Romano insists Man Utd “continue to back Ten Hag” for now.

Romano wrote in his Caught Offside column: “I wanted to start today by addressing some of the rumours about Erik ten Hag and a possible replacement being lined up by Manchester United, with some credible sources suggesting Julen Lopetegui is gaining strength as a candidate to take over at Old Trafford.

“I don’t want to deny or talk down any colleagues and the information they’re getting, but all I can say is that I’m not aware of any contact between Man United and Lopetegui at this stage. There’s not a lot more I can say other than what I’ve previously reported, which is that United continue to back Ten Hag, even if there is an awareness that things have to improve.

“I can also say that, for sure Lopetegui wants to work in the Premier League again after his experience at Wolves, and that’s why he said no to a proposal from Saudi Pro League side Al Ittihad recently. Apart from that, there’s no update as of now.”

TalkSPORT claim former Chelsea boss Graham Potter is also a ‘contender’ to take over from Ten Hag if Ratcliffe decides to bring in a new face at Old Trafford.

The report adds:

‘Should it be decided Ten Hag’s days in the job are numbered, Man United could turn to former Chelsea boss Potter.

‘talkSPORT understands Potter’s work is admired by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who is set to complete his minority stake purchase in Man United imminently.’