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Manchester United report: The one bit of news that means Erik ten Hag edges ahead of Pochettino in race for Old Trafford job

Erik ten Hag
(Image credit: PA)

Ajax boss Erik ten Hag may have overtaken Mauricio Pochettino in the race to become the next Manchester United manager.

United's interest in the Dutchman seems to have intensified in recent weeks, with reports that he has even been interviewed for the position.

The latest reports come down to something simpler than philosophy, though: he may just be the cheaper option.

According to The Telegraph (opens in new tab), Ten Hag's release clause at Ajax is just £1.7m, which could be a snip if he proves to be a successful hire. 

It has now been almost a decade since Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down as United manager, and the Red Devils have cycled through four permanent managers since then, plus two caretaker and interim coaches. There is enormous pressure on the club hierarchy to ensure that the new manager is chosen with the intention of building towards success with a long-term project.

With that in mind, should the board be convinced Ten Hag is the man to deliver that, paying less than £2m in compensation could be seen as a great value deal years down the line.

In the nine years since Ferguson's retirement, it's believed that Man United have paid out around £38m to sack managers – paying out the contracts of David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer respectively.

In France, managers don't have release clause fees in their contracts, meaning that United would have to pay out the rest of Pochettino's one-year deal at Paris Saint-Germain – a fee that could be around £10m.

The hope in Manchester, if they do opt for Pochettino, is that PSG sack the Argentinian and pay out that compensation themselves. Unsurprisingly, feeling in the French capital is that they can avoid the cost of sacking their head coach if United poach him first.

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Conor Pope is the Online Editor of FourFourTwo, overseeing all digital content, and joined the team in February 2019. He supports Blackburn Rovers and holds a season ticket with south London non-league side Dulwich Hamlet. His main football passions include Tugay, the San Siro and only using a winter ball when it snows.