Erik ten Hag has laid down the law to Manchester United players ahead of next season, insisting he will challenge anyone in the squad if they do not ‘meet their task’.
The Dutchman was confirmed as United’s next permanent manager on Thursday and will replace interim boss Ralf Rangnick after agreeing a contract until 2025 worth £9million per year.
The 52-year-old will inherit a squad full of high-profile stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford next season, a marked difference from his current stint as Ajax boss.
Erik ten Hag has laid down the law to Manchester United players ahead of next season
The 52-year-old will inherit a squad full of high-profile stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo
But speaking to Dutch newspaper Trouw the day after being announced as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s permanent replacement, ten Hag has vowed to challenge those who are not deemed to be pulling their weight, regardless of their name and status.
Asked if he could cope with Ronaldo and other stars at United, ten Hag said: ‘I think I can, but I will stay myself in that.
‘I won’t change my vision. I will tell them their task and whoever does not meet those tasks will hear that from me, no matter who it is.’
Ten Hag is also is pushing Man United to bring Steve McClaren back to Old Trafford as part of his new coaching team.
But he insists he will tell Man United stars if they are not up to scratch ‘no matter who is it is’
The 52-year-old wants Sir Alex Ferguson’s former No 2 on board so he has someone with experience of not only the Premier League but United as well.
United denied suggestions that they are resisting Ten Hag’s request, but want him to assess the existing options at the club before making a final decision on McClaren.
But ten Hag said he sees nothing wrong with making demands, and insists having a say in what transfer business United do is essential.
‘I make demands in advance before I arrive. If the club doesn’t grant them I won’t take the job,’ ten Hag added.
‘I am the one responsible, I am the one who will get judged by results. I don’t want to be a ruler, I will work together, but having a say in transfers is a condition for me.’
Ten Hag (left) wants to have Steve McClaren (right) as his new assistant at Manchester United
Ajax winger Antony, who played under Ten Hag in Holland, is said to be among the targets
Moreover, reports suggest he will be handed a massive £120m budget to rejuvenate the side in the summer.
The Dutchman faces an almighty challenge at Old Trafford as he inherits a floundering side who are set to go a fifth season without silverware and have slipped to sixth in the race for top four.
The recruitment team have reportedly already held talks with Ten Hag – who, like his predecessor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, will have a veto on all signings – and Ajax winger Antony is said to be among the targets.
Another of Ten Hag’s Ajax stars, Lisandro Martinez, and Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt have also been linked.
United are also reportedly targetting Kalvin Phillips (left) and Lisandro Martinez (right)
In midfield, Kalvin Phillips is viewed as an alternative to West Ham’s Declan Rice, whose £150million price tag is believed to have deterred United but who some reports suggest has turned down a third contract offer in east London.
Ten Hag will reportedly earn close to £30m as Man United boss, double the amount he is paid by Ajax.
After confirming the Dutchman as their new boss this week, he called the role ‘a huge honour’.
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.
United called the Dutchman ‘one of the most exciting and successful coaches in Europe’
‘It will be difficult to leave Ajax after these incredible years, and I can assure our fans of my complete commitment and focus on bringing this season to a successful conclusion before I move to Manchester United.’
Football director John Murtough said of his appointment: ‘During the past four years at Ajax, Erik has proved himself to be one of the most exciting and successful coaches in Europe, renowned for his team’s attractive, attacking football and commitment to youth.
‘In our conversations with Erik leading up to this appointment, we were deeply impressed with his long-term vision for returning Manchester United to the level we want to be competing at, and his drive and determination to achieve that.
‘We wish Erik the best of luck as he focuses on achieving a successful end to the season at Ajax and look forward to welcoming him to Manchester United this summer.’