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Man Utd ‘in talks with Antonio Conte and one more candidate’ due to Erik ten Hag ‘concern’ | Football | Sport

Ten Hag has overseen an upturn in results in recent weeks to ease the relentless sack talk that has plagued his difficult second season at Old Trafford.

The Premier League is expected to ratify Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s £1.3billion deal for a 29 per cent stake this month, which will see INEOS take total control of football operations.

Significant change is coming within United’s sporting structure. In fact, it has already started with the eye-catching appointment of Omar Berrada as the club’s chief executive from Manchester City.

Further major appointments are likely in the coming months, and Ten Hag’s position will naturally come under discussion in case INEOS want an entirely clean slate.

United have reportedly taken initial steps to line up a replacement in case they decide to part ways with the Dutchman at the end of the campaign.

According to Caught Offside, exploratory discussions have been held with Conte and former Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui to weigh up the duo as potential replacements.

United’s lacklustre form at times this season is said to have struck the club’s decision-makers as a concern.

And dismissal may be inevitable if the second half of the campaign isn’t better than the first, in which the Red Devils finished rock-bottom of their Champions League group.

They also crashed out of the Carabao Cup in the fourth round with a 3-0 home defeat to Newcastle United and currently sit in sixth, six points off the top five.

That said, United reportedly don’t have an immediate desire to send Ten Hag packing, and other positions, including a director of football and head of recruitment, appear to be higher priorities to fill.

The report adds that Lopetegui is keen on the United job after being sacked by Wolves just days before the 2023/24 season started, rejecting the Al Ittihad job in the hope an opportunity emerges.

The Spaniard – who has previously managed the Spanish national team, Real Madrid, Sevilla, FC Porto and Rayo Vallecano – is claimed to have remained in England after leaving Molineux.

Conte is just as surprising a name in the frame. However, the Italian is said to prefer to remain closer to his family in his homeland amid links to AC Milan.

He hasn’t ruled out a Premier League return, though, and his agents reportedly offered him to United after the club sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the end of 2021.

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