Man Utd looking at seven managers as ‘complicating factor’ threatens to save ‘on-trial’ Ten Hag

Jason Soutar
Manchester United managerial targets
Manchester United managerial targets

There are seven managers on Jason Wilcox’s shortlist with Erik ten Hag’s future as Manchester United manager up in the air, according to a report.

Ten Hag and United avoided the most embarrassing result in the Dutchman’s tenure in their FA Cup semi-final against Championship side Coventry City on Sunday.

Erik ten Hag ‘on trial’ at Man Utd until end of 2023/24

Coventry scored three goals in the space of 24 minutes to battle back from 3-0 down at Wembley and were denied a place in the final after a 122nd-minute winner was disallowed for offside by the VAR before the Premier League side won on penalties.

Despite managing to advance to the final, the Red Devils left the capital with their tail between their legs.

Well, the majority of their players did. Some revelled in their victory.

Ten Hag has been under a lot of pressure amidst United’s struggles this term and defeat to Coventry – especially having been in such a commanding position – would surely have been the final nail in the coffin.

Many reports suggest United will replace Ten Hag at the end of the season and The Telegraph claimed on Monday that new technical director Wilcox will be scrutinising the Dutchman by watching training sessions and speaking to staff and players, meaning he is ‘essentially on trial’.

The report takes a look at who could replace the former Ajax manager and the doubts Wilcox has over every single one of the bosses on his wish list.

Despite the possibility that Ten Hag’s position is ‘already untenable’, there is no ‘outstanding candidate’ out there after the only one – Xabi Alonso – committed his future to Bayer Leverkusen.

This means that any replacement for Ten Hag would join ‘with a certain degree of risk’ and the lack of a ‘stand-out candidate’ is a ‘complicating factor’ in United’s pursuit of a new manager.

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The managers that have fallen into the ‘risky’ bracket are Brighton’s Roberto De Zerbi, Bologna’s Thiago Motta, Girona’s Michel and Liverpool target Ruben Amorim, currently at Sporting in Portugal.

These four are all ‘talented young coaches’ but their inexperience means there are doubts over their ‘character, personality and temperament to handle the pressure of managing such a huge club and be able to work within a new, evolving structure’.

Meanwhile, other managers Gareth Southgate (England) and Graham Potter (unemployed) are believed to be ‘fantastic characters’ but might not have ‘the personality to command that credibility with the dressing room’.

Another manager who is strongly linked with a move to Old Trafford is Bayern Munich head coach Thomas Tuchel, who won the Champions League with Chelsea in 2021.

It has been reported elsewhere that the German is open to joining United this summer with a return to the Premier League his top priority.

However, ‘recent experiences at Chelsea and Bayern have shown he can be a difficult character’ and Wilcox and Sir Jim Ratcliffe do not want to further unsettle things in the red half of Manchester.

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