The factor delaying Manchester United’s decision on Erik ten Hag

Manchester United’s priority choice of Gareth Southgate is one factor complicating the decision over Erik ten Hag’s future, as Ineos are intent on getting the first big call of their era right.

Although they have reviewed the managerial situation, the club’s new leadership is hesitant to make any quick decisions. Even if Ten Hag is currently pressing for clarification and may yet depart with mutual consent, it’s possible that the announcement of the manager for the upcoming season drags on for weeks.

This is partially due to the fact that Southgate is the hierarchy’s top pick and, out of concern about diversions, won’t even talk about his future until after Euro 2024. The England manager is thought to be interested in the position, but the fact that he wouldn’t even be open to holding formal negotiations until mid-July increases the number of variables that Ineos needs to take into account.

Naturally, United has continued to evaluate other prospects, such as Thomas Frank of Brentford and free agents Mauricio Pochettino, Thomas Tuchel, and Roberto De Zerbi. There is a long-standing relationship with Pochettino, and Frank has particularly excelled. However, one further problem is that none of them have yet really convinced the hierarchy that this was the right decision for them to make.

It’s believed that Tuchel dropped down the rankings as a result of some disparities in perspective. Additionally, United is more focused on creating a long-term project, while the German appointment has the potential to provide a top-notch bridge to another party.

Ten Hag now has more time, but the Dutch coach wants to know for sure what his future holds very soon. Although it is evident that he would love to remain in the position, individuals with knowledge of the issue have not ruled out the possibility of him leaving with mutual accord.

Southgate has been working with United’s new senior officials, including as Sir Dave Brailsford, and part of the reason he’s become the front-runner for the position is the sense that he can lead a broader culture shift at the club, much as he did with England.

A strong coaching staff would similarly be developed underneath him, to go with the new football structure above. The protracted wait for Dan Ashworth’s arrival has illustrated that Ineos are willing to wait for exactly the right man in the most important positions.

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