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Manchester United are close to appointing Erik ten Hag as their new manager, with the Ajax boss the preferred candidate of the Old Trafford board.

The 52-year old has been in charge at Ajax since 2017, and led them to a Champions League semi-final in 2019.

According to ESPN's Mark Ogden, ten Hag has been chosen over Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino, with an appointment expected sooner rather than later.

Ten Hag will be entering the final year of his Ajax contract this summer, and is believed to be the cheaper option to prying Pochettino away from the French capital.

"The Ajax coach is the preferred candidate of the Glazers and chief executive, Richard Arnold," Ogden revealed.

"[There's] still a bit of work to do - they've got to come to an agreement with Ajax - but I'm told that they've chosen ten Hag over Mauricio Pochettino, not just for financial reasons, because he's a 'cheaper' option in terms of getting out of his contract at Ajax, but also for footballing reasons.

"The fact that ten Hag is seen as a rising star in coaching, a guy with a flawless record so far. Whereas Pochettino has had a difficult time at PSG, struggled to get past the Champions League round of 16 having been knocked out by Real Madrid this year.

"[He's] had difficulties with asserting his authority since Lionel Messi arrived at the club last summer - he's got big players like Neymar and [Kylian] Mbappé - so although Pochettino has the Premier League credentials, United believe that ten Hag - with his style of play, with his successful track record, with his ability to make teams over perform as he has done at Ajax - makes him the ideal candidate."

It will cost United in the region of €2million to extricate ten Hag from his Ajax deal, whereas Pochettino would have cost them around €18million.

Ten Hag's taking the job would go against the advice of former United boss Louis van Gaal.

The current Netherlands head coach warned him off the Old Trafford gig last month, saying, "Manchester United is a commercial club. Those are difficult choices for a coach. You better go to a football club.

"I'm not going to guide his career, he can call me himself, because we sometimes have conversations with each other.

"But he should choose a football club and not a commercial club.”

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Erik Ten Hag Manchester United Ralf Rangnick Richard Arnold

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