Time will tell what happens with Erik ten Hag at Manchester United amid the partial takeover of the club by Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS – with the billionaire having already revealed another manager he admits he ‘loves’.
The Old Trafford club will soon be 25 per cent owned by the INEOS corporation, which is led by lifelong United fan Sir Jim, with all of United’s football operations to come under their control and is in the process of being completed.
On the pitch, it has been a difficult second season for United under Ten Hag, with United out of Champions League, far from certain to qualify for Europe’s top club competition for the 2024/25 campaign, and the FA Cup the only chance of silverware now.
United sit seventh in the Premier League table and eight points off the top four, though they picked up three points last night in a dramatic 4-3 win over Wolves with an injury time winner from youngster Kobbie Mainoo.
With INEOS still officially not having the deal to own 25 per cent of United done and dusted and over the line, it has not been a surprise to see the Old Trafford club fairly inactive in the January transfer window.
Any changes to the squad – and potentially in the dugout – are likely to come in the summer and Sir Jim has already spoken of the managers he admires, as well as one he even ‘loves’.
Speaking with theDaily Telegraphback in 2018, Sir Jim admits he loves Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone, who has won La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Europa League in charge of Atleti as they have gone up against Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Sir Jim also admitted his admiration for Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino, while he was critical of the likes of Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte.
He said: “The guy I like is Simeone. I love him.
“I am a season ticket holder at Chelsea. Have been for years, although I’m a Manchester United fan really.’
“If you’ve got the six teams competing at the top of the table – this is last season anyway – you’ve got three who are managed by glass-half-full guys, Klopp, Guardiola and Pochettino. They get their teams up and energised.
“You look at Mourinho. He’s so down. He destroyed Luke Shaw last season.
“And then you’ve got [Arsene] Wenger, who [was] miserable, and Conte, who was down.”
It promises to be an intriguing summer at Old Trafford, both on and off the pitch.