Ten Hag pressure ramps up as ‘doubts’ put Man Utd on trail of La Liga winning coach

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Erik Ten Hag, Manchester United, November 2022 Credit: Alamy
Erik Ten Hag, Manchester United, November 2022 Credit: Alamy

Erik ten Hag’s position could be in danger, as Manchester United have reportedly identified Diego Simeone as a prime candidate for the manager’s job.

That the United manager position is one that has seen many underperform of late has been obvious. Not since Sir Alex Ferguson’s last season in charge, 2012/13, have the Red Devils won the Premier League.

That is quite the fall from grace following five title triumphs in the Scot’s last seven seasons in the role.

Eight managers – some only in a caretaker position – have taken the role since that time. The most successful campaigns in the Premier League have been second-placed finishes for Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Last season, United were well under par. Ralf Rangnick managed just a sixth-placed finish, and it was obvious a big change was needed.

Ten Hag’s appointment ahead of this campaign looked a shrewd one. The Dutchman was a serial winner in his previous role at Ajax – winning the Eredivisie four seasons in a row.

He has inspired United to some big results in the league – wins over Arsenal and Tottenham have been some of the most positive.

However, after a spend of around £200million, for such an accomplished manager, United would have expected to be higher than fifth in the league at the moment.

United tracking Simeone to take over

There is still a good chunk of the season for Ten Hag to inspire his side to a better position. However, there have already been whisperings that the former Ajax boss is living on borrowed time.

Indeed, Luis Enrique is reportedly being tracked by United for next season. The Spain boss is apparently keen to return to club football, and United represents a challenge that, if he got right, would bring success.

However, Atletico Madrid is a possible destination suggested in that report. That, though, could play into the hands of United.

Atletico manager Diego Simeone is currently under some pressure. His side are currently fifth in La Liga, and dropped out of the Champions League, finishing bottom of their group with only five points.

If he does not manage to turn things around, he could be forced out.

A report in the Spanish media (via Caught Offside) states that Simeone is a target of United’s. The Red Devils apparently want to take advantage of the ‘doubts’ over his future.

That report states he is the ‘favourite’ for United, though it will be a ‘complicated task’ to snare him, given his emotional attachment to the club he has managed for over 10 years.

If he is sacked, though, the decision to take the United job could be a much easier one for Simeone.

He is clearly a great manager, too. The Spaniard inspired Atletico to the La Liga title in 2020/21, following years of dominance from Real Madrid and Barcelona.

With Manchester City currently in a similar period of dominance in England, bringing in a manager who could have a real crack at ending that would be a great addition for United

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