Manchester United announced the signing of Erik ten Hag on April 21st. The Dutchman will finish the season with Ajax and will join the club in summer. Now he has a very difficult challenge ahead of him: to return the ‘Red Devils’ to the place they belong historically.
The relationship between Ajax and Manchester United has strengthened in the last few years and there is a real friendship between both entities and supporters. Movements like Daley Blind and Van de Beek or the figure of Edwin van der Sar as a bond prove this fact.
Ten Hag is now a new chapter of this friendship and the media are already speculating on the possibility that he might recover Van de Beek. And this is not the only aspect being discussed, but also the kind of football that he will want to install at United.
If we take a look at his job at Ajax, we will see that he practices a functional playing style. Unlike the positional playing, this style promotes the freedom of movements and the development of football around the ball, which results in a lot of passing between teammates within short distances.
“They do not show a great structural organization when playing possession or defending. it is an spontaneous team at decision making and most of them tend to be individual rather than collective ones”, said Mauricio Pochetino back in 2019 ahead of the Champions League semifinals between Tottenham and Ajax.
Erik ten Hag has made it far through a style that became popular in Brazil. In fact, their national team reigned the in the world with this identity. This way, the Dutchman will now look to repeat this success in England.
Ten Hag will have to start a project from zero and build from the base. Ralf Rangnick has said in the last few days that the club must sell multiple players and sign many others. A process that will have to be completed through several transfer market windows, according to the German.
Rangnick will now be part of the sports management area and will work along with the new coach. They both seem to be aware of the fact that Manchester United need a rebuild process that will take several years and that outcomes can’t come instantly.
This is the first difference maker factor for the project to be successful. Another key aspect is that the ‘Red Devils’ will finally be able to count on an established professional as their manager.
The challenge of Erik ten Hag will begin next summer and so a new chapter for Manchester United. The fans can afford to dream big once again, but this time there seems to be better foundations. Time will tell.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.
Main image: Twitter @ManUtd.
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