Man Utd face managerial merry-go-round as Erik ten Hag linked with European job | Football | Sport

Manchester United risk embarking on a wild goose chase if they decide to sack Erik ten Hag at the end of his second season in charge. Ten Hag has been linked with a surprise return to Ajax if new kingpin Sir Jim Ratcliffe pulls the plug on his three-year contract. However, the bookies’ current favourite to replace him is reportedly also in the frame.

Ten Hag could be on borrowed time at Old Trafford if United crash out of the FA Cup quarter-finals against Liverpool this afternoon.

The Dutchman is already under mounting scrutiny, having overseen 16 defeats this season while Ratcliffe and INEOS have been enacting ruthless change off the pitch.

He may need FA Cup glory or a top-five Premier League finish – which should secure Champions League qualification – to convince United’s new football structure that he’s the right man for the job.

But if he departs Manchester after just two years, a door appears to be left open for him in Amsterdam.

The Mirror say that Ten Hag joins Liverpool assistant Pep Ljinders on Ajax’s managerial shortlist as new chief executive Alex Kroes starts his efforts to revive the club after a miserable season.

Kroes is said to have visited both United and Manchester City for inspiration as he develops a new structure at Ajax. He has reportedly been urged to follow an English model.

However, a third name on the Dutch giants’ radar could be bad news for the Red Devils if they plan to part ways with Ten Hag and start afresh.

The report adds that former Brighton and Hove Albion and Chelsea boss Graham Potter also features among Ajax’s targets.

Kroes is claimed to have been informed that the 48-year-old would be interested in reigniting his coaching career in the Netherlands after a disastrous tenure at Stamford Bridge.

Potter has some mutual admirers at the Johan Cruyff Arena, and he could be off the table if a concrete approach is made.

He is also well-respected among INEOS figures, though, and has been thrust into the spotlight amid the intense speculation surrounding United’s managerial situation.

Potter also has a close relationship with Dan Ashworth, the Newcastle United sporting director currently on gardening leave after signalling his desire to accept the role at Old Trafford.

But if United don’t decide on Ten Hag’s future soon, their reported favourite option could no longer be attainable, sparking an unwanted merry-go-round in search of a successor.

Today’s FA Cup result against Liverpool could determine how quickly a verdict is reached.

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