Manchester United identify national team coach as leading candidate to replace Ten Hag if the Dutchman is sacked - Reports

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag

Manchester United have drawn up a list of candidates to replace Erik ten Hag this summer. According to reports, England manager Gareth Southgate is the club's top target.

The Red Devils endured a turbulent campaign under Ten Hag last season that saw them finish eighth in the Premier League table. United suffered a decline in form at the tail end of the campaign, which saw them move out of the European spots in the league standings.

However, Ten Hag's side managed to salvage European qualification by winning the FA Cup final against Manchester City, securing them a spot in the UEFA Europa League next season.

Despite their victorious finish to the season, there has been speculation about Ten Hag's future at Old Trafford. INEOS CEO Sir Jim Ratcliffe's minority stake acquisition of Manchester United earlier this year further fueled these rumors.

According to The Independent, the club's new hierarchy are reviewing their options and the decision to sack Ten Hag could be dragged out. Manchester United are reportedly intent on taking time with their decision so they can make the right one.

Brentford boss Thomas Frank, former Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi, and former Chelsea bosses Mauricio Pochettino and Thomas Tuchel are some of the candidates linked to the Red Devils.

However, Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate is at the top of their list. His contract with England expires in December.

What Gareth Southgate has said about the Manchester United links

Gareth Southgate has opened up about the reported interest from Manchester United, but the Englishman has refused to provide a definitive answer.

He insists that he remains focused on the 2024 European Championships and won't speak about his future until after the tournament. He said:

“Well, I'm not a big gambling man, and bookies, they can make their odds but it's not conversations that’s been had with me. I've got one thing to focus on. That's having as successful a tournament with England as possible. Everything else outside of that is a complete irrelevance to me."

Southgate added:

“If I start talking about that, then I'm already distracted from what I'm doing. So, I think the country would expect that my focus is on England, and rightly so it is. We've had three tournaments where we've taken the public on a brilliant ride, I think we know that and I know that you've got that desire to go that one step further, and this is a brilliant opportunity for us to do that.’’

Manchester United recorded 18 wins, six draws, and 14 losses during the 2023-24 campaign in the Premier League. The Red Devils finished eight points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa.

United had a dismal start to the campaign under Ten Hag. They finished dead last in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League and crashed out of Europe.

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