Erik ten Hag ‘has great escape route from Man United’ and won’t care about massive pay cut

Under-pressure Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is ‘top of the list’ to become the next Ajax manager, talkSPORT has been told.

The Dutchman’s future at Old Trafford has been plunged into uncertainty by poor results this season, as well as due to Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s minority takeover of the club in December.

More doubt was cast on Ten Hag’s future at the weekend with Man United only managing a 1-1 draw at home to struggling Burnley, and the Red Devils can now no longer finish in the top four of the Premier League this season.

With Europa League or possibly Conference League football in the offing next season, change may come among the Man United coaching staff.

But Dutch football expert Marcel van der Kraan suggested Ten Hag could jump before any potential push with the 54-year-old the favourite for the top job at the Amsterdam ArenA.

“There is a great escape route for Manchester United and Erik ten Hag,” Van der Kraan said on Trans Europe Express.

“Ajax have had a dreadful season – they’ve had three managers, they’ve sacked the technical director, Sven Mislintat, they’ve sacked the CEO and brought him back… they’ve sacked almost everyone they can think of and it’s been really dire.

“The CEO, the big man who was sacked only two weeks ago for suspected insider trading because he allegedly bought shares just before he was appointed is back on the scene as of on Friday afternoon.

“Alex Kroes, who started SEG (Sports Entertainment Group), look after Erik ten Hag, they have done for many years. This Alex Kroes is the new technical director of Ajax.

“Alex Kroes has got Erik ten Hag at the top of his wanted list. He is his man and will wait for him until the end of this month because by June 1st they have to appoint a manager or make a decision.

“He’s prepared to wait another month to see if Erik ten Hag will take the job on June 1st.

“Why until the end of May? Because on May 25th it’s the FA Cup final [Manchester United vs Manchester City] and Ten Hag will not want to be disturbed with that question.

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“But he knows about it, he knows there’s an open door at Ajax and he can be the manager of Ajax next season and try and win a title there again.”

Ajax have endured a dreadful season, which has seen them sack two managers, while current boss John van ‘t Ship is expected to leave upon the expiration of his contract at the end of the campaign.

They are fifth in the Eredivisie, 35 points behind champions-elect PSV Eindhoven, which would mean they’d have to compete in play-offs just to qualify for next season’s Conference League.

The Kroes drama has added to the chaos off the pitch. The 49-year-old began work as CEO in March but was suspended just 19 days after beginning the role after being found to have ‘likely engaged in insider trading’ prior to his appointment in August 2023 by buying 17,000 shares in the club.

Insider trading — the buying or selling of stocks based on privileged information — is a criminal offence and Kroes subsequently submitted all required information to the Netherlands’ Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) for scrutiny. He maintains that his actions do not amount to criminality.

On April 14, following Ajax’s 6-0 hiding at Feyenoord, the club’s Members Board and ultras wrote to the Supervisory Board — who took the decision to suspend Kroes — asking them to reconsider their decision.

And it has since been announced that the Supervisory Board allowed Kroes to return to the club in the new role of ‘technical director’, on the understanding that he would ‘step down as CEO and chairman of the board.’

talkSPORT understands that Ten Hag and Man United players will suffer a pay cut for failing to qualify for the Champions League.

It’s still unlikely that Ajax would match the salary Ten Hag pockets at Man United, however, Van der Kraan believes money isn’t an object in Ten Hag’s managerial career.

“If we remember why Ten Hag came to Manchester United, money was never his motivation,” Van der Kraan added.

“Ten Hag comes from a family of millionaires, his father had a huge, huge empire in the east of Holland. I don’t think he’s ever had to worry about money and I don’t think one or two million more or less will make a difference for Erik.”

Ten Hag joined Man United from Ajax in 2022 having won three league titles in five years with the Dutch giants.

He enjoyed a good first season with Man United as the team won the Carabao Cup, reached the FA Cup final and qualified for the Champions League again.

However, Man United finished bottom of their Champions League group, lost 3-0 to Newcastle in the Carabao Cup and have lost 12 of their 34 Premier League games this season.

SOURCE: Football News, Transfers, Opinion – talkSPORT   (go to source)
AUTHOR: Jackson Cole
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