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Man United manager search: Erik ten Hag interviewed as club consider options

Manchester United plan to speak to “multiple candidates” for the role of manager at Old Trafford, after interviewing Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag earlier this week.

Paris Saint-Germain’s Mauricio Pochettino, Spain coach Luis Enrique and Sevilla’s Julen Lopetegui are also on the club’s shortlist to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was fired in November.

Exploratory, informal talks have already taken place with a number of potential candidates to assess their interest in the post, with sources saying that associates of Pochettino have been in contact with United.

ESPN reported on March 18 that United would use this international break to accelerate their process of identifying a new manager, with club owners the Glazer family and chief executive Richard Arnold keen to finalize an appointment before the end of the season. Ten Hag, who was interviewed by Tottenham as a possible replacement for Jose Mourinho last summer, is considered to be the first to have been formally interviewed by the United hierarchy.

John Murtough, United’s director of football, is leading the search for the club’s fifth permanent manager since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and sources have told ESPN that Ten Hag and Pochettino, whose teams were both eliminated alongside United at the Champions League round-of-16 stage, are the leading candidates at this stage.

Both Ten Hag and Pochettino are under contract at their clubs until June 2023, leading to the likelihood of a compensation bill should either be chosen as Solskjaer’s successor.

Sources have said that Ajax would not command a significant fee for Ten Hag due to the club’s long-established model of permitting players and coaches to leave for a new challenge elsewhere.

The prospect of an expensive battle to take Pochettino from PSG is a potential issue, sources have said, although the former Tottenham manager is under increasing pressure to save his job at Parc des Princes after the Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid was followed by a 3-0 Ligue 1 defeat versus Monaco at the weekend.

Sources told ESPN that United are determined to undertake a thorough process before identifying the new manager, with the club desperate to avoid the mistakes that have left them searching for a fifth new boss in nine years.

While United are maintaining a watching interest in Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel due to the uncertainty surrounding the Premier League club as a result of its planned sale by owner Roman Abramovich, whose assets have been frozen by the United Kingdom government, sources have stated that the German is not regarded as a likely appointment.

The same applies to Carlo Ancelotti (Real Madrid), Roberto Mancini (Italy) and Julian Nagelsmann (Bayern Munich), who have all been discussed within United, but are viewed as either unsuitable or unattainable.

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