Manchester United are moving closer to the appointment of Erik ten Hag as the club’s next manager.
GOAL understands the Dutchman has topped the shortlist of candidates to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on a permanent basis and further talks to work on details of the deal are now being worked out.
Club sources insist their recruitment process for hiring the next manager is still ongoing and that no deal has been completed.
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What do we know?
During the last international break United ramped up their recruitment process in the hope of finalising the next manager before the end of this season.
The club wants to have someone in place as soon as possible at the end of the campaign in order to have the final say on transfer targets and be in position before the pre-season tour.
Ten Hag and Mauricio Pochettino were the leading two candidates but it is understood the former became the favourite after he impressed in his formal interview two weeks ago.
The 52-year-old is yet to finalise a deal but there is increasing hope he will become the next permanent manager once the details are agreed.
It is understood that the compensation package of £1.7 million to be paid to Ajax also appealed to Man Utd over the £15m they would have had to pay PSG for Pochettino.
When could there be an announcement?
United have not ruled out making a formal announcement on their managerial decision before the end of the season but are mindful of being respectful of the other club.
Ajax are currently top of the Eredivisie with six games left to play and are four points clear of second place PSV Eindhoven.
Were any other candidates considered?
Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui and Spain manager Luis Enrqiue were the other two candidates on the club’s four man shortlist, but the former ruled himself out of contention last month, insisting he is happy at Sevila, while the latter is preparing to take Spain to the World Cup.
The club were not keen on hiring another interim manager which pushed Enrique down the pecking order, although it is understood that Carlo Ancelotti was considered an option for that role had the Man Utd hierarchy decided Enrique was worth holding out for.
While Thomas Tuchel is admired as an excellent manager, it was never believed that he would be attainable and no approach was made.