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RB Leipzig emerge as challengers for Erik ten Hag

Manchester United aren’t in the clear yet in negotiations for their preferred new manager...

Ajax v Sparta Rotterdam - Dutch Eredivisie Photo by Geert van Erven/BSR Agency/Getty Images

Manchester United may have identified current Ajax boss Erik ten Hag as their preferred next manager, but they are not alone in vying for his services. German club RB Leipzig have emerged as a candidate as well, pushing to sign the Dutchman quickly after reports that he was in final talks with the Red Devils.

Erik ten Hag is reportedly very interested in the Manchester United job and not dissuaded by the failures of managers before him in the role, but he has made it clear in negotiations that he wants to have a certain level of control over squad building, transfers, and player development at the club. While he doesn’t want complete control, he does reportedly want a working partnership with Ralf Rangnick to develop a long term vision for the club as well as guarantees that he will have the time to see the project through. That part of it has been the problem for United in their post-SAF managerial appointments, as the board and manager start to fall out after the first season and the continuity in recruitment and team building is subsequently derailed.

There will no doubt be some issue over which players in the current squad ten Hag will want to keep as well. The Glazers and the board, who interfered plenty in the Ronaldo transfer on a whim that has gone disastrously, need to give ten Hag control in this area as well. Even if it means saying goodbye to fan favorites, committing to a philosophy and direction means finding a balance that works in the squad. That balance doesn’t come with a bloated wage bill and a squad formed via transfers from multiple different managers.

Manchester United is an attractive job for ten Hag, who would probably prefer it to Leipzig, but the task is a big one and the conditions understandably need to be right in order to attract the right man for the job.