Manchester United are closing in on a deal to make Ajax’s Erik ten Hag their new manager.
Talks have been held with the Dutch club to establish the terms for Ten Hag’s release as United take a significant step towards appointing the 52-year-old.
Those discussions took place at the end of last week and indicate that United are now ready to press ahead with bringing in Ten Hag, whose Ajax contract expires at the end of next season.
The compensation payment for Ten Hag would be just over £1.6million — significantly less than Paris Saint-Germain’s demand to release the other main candidate for the role, Mauricio Pochettino.
Sportsmail exclusively revealed Ten Hag was a leading contender for the job in November, before breaking the news of his interview for the post last month.
United’s process to choose Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s permanent successor has been described as ‘advanced’, although club sources stressed on Wednesday night that they are yet to reach a definitive decision on the new boss.
They do have a call to make on the timing of their announcement, given Ten Hag’s job at Ajax and his workload until the end of the season.
Ajax is four points clear of PSV Eindhoven at the top of the Dutch league and United want to be respectful. Unveiling Ten Hag before the Eredivisie title race has been concluded could be seen as disruptive.
Equally, Ten Hag may view persistent rumours about his future as a distraction to his players and instead prefer a quick announcement.
Sevilla manager Julen Lopetegui is now seen as a distant outsider for the United post, while there were clear pitfalls with appointing Luis Enrique, given the former Barcelona boss is taking charge of Spain at the World Cup in Qatar later this year.
Pochettino, who like Ten Hag has 12 months remaining on his contract, has long had admirers at Old Trafford but the Paris Saint-Germain job has proved to be a tough assignment.
The Ligue 1 leaders were embarrassingly dumped out of the Champions League at the first knockout stage last month.
United realise there is a need to reshape their squad, with question marks over the futures of many first-team players.
Ten Hag was not the only candidate to raise the issue of recruitment with United’s hierarchy in the interview process and there is a recognition the new boss will require significant backing in the transfer market.
Source: Daily Mail