Erik ten Hag contract comes with a twist in hint that Man Utd could still sack boss – Football News

Erik ten Hag contract comes with a twist in hint that Man Utd could still sack boss

Erik ten Hag has signed a new Man Utd contract. (Image: GETTY)

Erik ten Hag’s future appears settled for now after Manchester United confirmed that he had extended his contract until 2026 on Thursday. However, between the lines, the agreement over his new deal at Old Trafford suggests that he is very much still a manager under serious pressure.

Speculation surrounding Ten Hag has been rife since Sir Jim Ratcliffe secured a minority stake and the Glazer family surrendered control over football operations in February.

United’s dismal 2023/24 season – in which they finished a record-low eighth in the Premier League with 14 defeats – seemed destined to send the Dutchman packing.

He also oversaw the club’s worst-ever Champions League campaign, finishing bottom of Group A with one win against Bayern Munich, Copenhagen and Galatasaray.

But a stunning tactical display to beat Manchester City 2-1 in the FA Cup final, resulting in a second major trophy in as many years, appears to have bought Ten Hag some time.

How much time the 54-year-old is awarded remains to be seen, but the concept of a new contract can’t distract supporters from the reality.

United held talks with multiple potential replacements as they pondered over Ten Hag’s future in the weeks following their 13th FA Cup triumph.

Mauricio Pochettino, Thomas Tuchel, Roberto De Zerbi, Thomas Frank and Marco Silva all reportedly sat down for face-to-face talks with INEOS chiefs.

Erik ten Hag is contracted until 2026.

Erik ten Hag is contracted until 2026. (Image: Getty)

But no candidate convinced United’s hierarchy that they could drive instant improvement in the first full season of their regime.

Regardless of the finer circumstances, succeeding the first coach to bring major silverware to Old Trafford in back-to-back seasons since 2011 would’ve been a big ask.

Ten Hag’s new contract exudes the sense that INEOS still haven’t completely bought in on United’s current manager either, though.

It’s believed that rather than handing Ten Hag fresh terms as part of a new agreement, United have instead triggered a 12-month extension to the contract he signed in 2022.

Sure, it would’ve been more straightforward to leave him without. But that was never going to happen when Ratcliffe’s priority was establishing stability.

A United manager entering the season without a contractual guarantee he’ll be in charge for the next? It doesn’t scream stability, does it?

By triggering his extension rather than agreeing a new deal, INEOS still have an easy out if United’s fortunes don’t improve and a more enticing replacement candidate enters the frame.

There is a strong presentation of a united front for now, though. Because there has to be.