Manchester United have announced the appointment of Erik ten Hag as their new manager, subject to work visa requirements, from the end of this season until June 2025, with the option to extend for a further year.
Ten Hag is the fifth permanent manager to be appointed by United since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 following David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Ralf Rangnick has been in interim charge since Solskjaer's sacking in November 2021.
John Murtough, United's Football Director, said: “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.”
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.
“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.”
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United, beaten 4-0 by Liverpool on Tuesday, are currently sixth in the Premier League and face the prospect of missing out on qualification to next season's Champions League.
The 52-year-old Ten Hag was appointed by Ajax during the 2017/18 campaign and led them to the Dutch league title in 2019 and 2021, as well as the Champions League semi-finals in 2019.
The Dutchman, who previously worked with the reserve team of Bayern Munich, had long been linked with a move to United.
The recruitment process had been led by Murtough and technical director Darren Fletcher with club chief executive Richard Arnold involved in the latter stages.
Although they spoke to a number of potential candidates, the trio believed that Ten Hag was the candidate most closely aligned with United's vision and strategy for getting back to the top level.
Rangnick said on Monday that United were "six years behind" Liverpool and said that there could be up to ten new players brought in as part of what he called a "rebuild".
When the German was hired as interim manager, the club said he had also agreed to a two-year consultancy with United.
Ajax had wanted to avoid any distractions in the final weeks of the season where they remain in a battle for the Eredivisie title with PSV Eindhoven.
Ajax chief executive Edwin van der Sar, the former United goalkeeper said they had wanted to keep Ten Hag in charge for longer.
"Four-and-a-half years is a good amount of time, but we would have liked to have kept Erik at Ajax for longer. He is going to make the step to one of the biggest clubs in the world, in a fantastic league," he told the club's official website.
"We owe Erik a lot of thanks for what he has achieved with Ajax so far but we are not done yet. At the end of the season, I will look back more extensively on his departure. For now, what matters is the final games of the season in which we all want to bring home the league title."