Sir Jim Ratcliffe delays Man Utd manager search as ‘high-quality bridge’ falls down pecking order

Will Ford
Ratcliffe Southgate Tuchel Man Utd
Ratcliffe has put the Man Utd manager search on hold.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has put the search for a new Manchester United manager on hold as an option deemed a ‘high-quality bridge’ has fallen down the pecking order.

The new co-owner, who bought a 27.7 per cent stake in the club in February and has taken over football operations, has ordered a strategic review of the football club, which has included an assessment of current manager Erik ten Hag.

The Dutchman was thought by many to be a dead man walking before United beat Manchester City in the FA Cup final to throw a spanner in the works, but reports suggest Ratcliffe is still looking to replace Ten Hag at the helm.

Any new arrival will be a head coach rather than a manager, with transfer decisions set to be made by incoming sporting director Dan Ashworth and the style of play at the football club determined by technical director Jason Wilcox.

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The Southgate delay

The club bosses don’t want to rush into any move and according to the Independent the delay is ‘tied to the fact that Gareth Southgate is the number one choice and is unwilling to to even discuss his future until after Euro 2024’.

Ratcliffe believes Southgate ‘would be open to the job’ but the co-owner and other Old Trafford chiefs have pressed on with assessing other candidates including Brentford’s Thomas Frank and free agents Thomas Tuchel, Mauricio Pochettino and Roberto De Zerbi.

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Tuchel differences

‘Frank has particularly impressed’ but ‘none have completely persuaded the hierarchy’, with Thomas Tuchel falling down the shortlist due to ‘differences in outlook’.

The United bosses are ‘intent on building something for the long-term’ while the former Chelsea boss is ‘seen as an appointment that could offer a high-quality bridge to someone else’.

Southgate is considered the main target with one key reason the ‘belief that he can be the figurehead for a wider cultural change at the club in the same way he did with England’.

Ten Hag could yet leave the club by mutual consent though ‘wants clarity on his future soon’, but it looks like he will have to wait until after the European Championship.