Manchester United have appointed Erik ten Hag as their new manager.
The Ajax boss will take over from Manchester United’s interim coach Ralf Rangnick in the summer.
Ten Hag said: “It is a great honour to be appointed manager of Manchester United and I am hugely excited by the challenge ahead. I know the history of this great club and the passion of the fans, and I am absolutely determined to develop a team capable of delivering the success they deserve.”
The 52-year-old has signed a three-year deal with the option of a further 12 months.
Liverpool beat Manchester United 4-0 on Tuesday, with the defeat at Anfield signalling the scale of the task facing Ten Hag.
United’s football director, John Murtough, said Ten Hag has proved himself to be “one of the most exciting and successful coaches in Europe”, during his four years at Ajax.
The German took over from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was sacked by the club last November.
Rangnick is expected to step into a two-year consultancy role at Old Trafford.
Football director John Murtough and technical director Darren Fletcher led the search for a new manager, feeding into chief executive Richard Arnold and joint chairman Joel Glazer.
Since Solskjaer was sacked, rumours surfaced that Ten Hag and former Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino were the favoured candidates.
Ten Hag is said to have been interviewed during the March international break and the club has today announced his appointment.
Ten Hag’s compensation is understood to be £1.7m and Manchester United’s good relationship with former player Edwin van der Sar, who is now Ajax’s chief executive, is understood to have played a part in the negotiations.
Other candidates included Julen Lopetegui and Luis Enrique.
Who is Erik ten Hag?
The Ajax boss has risen to become one of the most respected coaches in Europe in the past few years.
He led a young Ajax side to the 2019 Champions League semi-final, beating Juventus and Real Madrid en route.
His side lost to Tottenham in the semi-final after a late goal from Lucas Moura in the second leg.
Ten Hag started his managerial career at Go Ahead Eagles in the Dutch top flight in 2012 before moving to Bayern Munich’s reserve team a year later.
At the time Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was in charge of Bayern Munich’s first team.
In 2015, he was appointed the sporting director and head coach of FC Utrecht, where he won the manager of the year award in 2016.
Two years later Peter Bosz, the Ajax manager at the time, moved to Borussia Dortmund after losing to Manchester United in the Europa League final.
Erik ‘the fifth’ to rebuild Manchester United
The deal is finally done.
The fifth full time manager to take over at Old Trafford since Sir Alex Ferguson will be Erik Ten Hag – the highly regarded head coach at Ajax in Amsterdam.
He is a meticulous planner, a details man and somebody who reads the game instinctively.
That’s what Steve McLaren spotted in him when Ten Hag served as his assistant at FC Twente in the Dutch league and McLaren knows what it takes to win at Old Trafford – he was assistant manager to Sir Alex Ferguson during the iconic treble winning season of 1999.
McLaren has said Ten Hag’s ability to make the right tactical changes, coupled with his ability to develop players into world beaters, makes him an “outstanding” coach.
It’s what has led him to Manchester United where they have never quite managed to find the right formula since Sir Alex retired in 2013.
That was the year when Ten Hag made his coaching breakthrough – leading Go Ahead Eagles to promotion in his first season in charge there.
Before that he’d had a fairly unremarkable playing career as a centre back in Dutch football.
Rather than replacing a sacked manager, Ten Hag will have the benefit of sitting down with Ralf Rangnick, who has been interim manager at Old Trafford, to have the detailed discussion on what’s really happening at the club and what needs to change.
He will have his own plan, but Rangnick has already said the team needs new players “in all areas” apart from a goalkeeper.
Their abject performances against their bitter rivals Liverpool this season have been nothing short of humiliating.
0-5 at Old Trafford and most recently 0-4 at Anfield are results that have wounded the club’s supporters.
It isn’t just the fact they have lost but the lack of fight or desire in their side. United have become a shadow of their former selves and it hurts.
Faces, attitudes and dressing room culture have to change. The 52-year-old Dutchman has the job of his life to try and make it all happen.
Ajax initially appointed Marcel Keizer from its youth setup but he was sacked midway through the season and replaced by Ten Hag.
Ten Hag has won two league titles in the Netherlands.
Having worked under Guardiola, Ten Hag is a possession-based manager, who is keen on pressing from the front.
He has also helped develop a number of young players, including Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech, Manchester United’s Donny van de Beek, Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, Juventus centre-back Matthijs de Ligt and most recently, Brazilian winger Antony.
The last highly successful Ajax coach to move to England’s top flight – via Inter Milan – was Frank de Boer, who lasted just 77 days at Crystal Palace.