Manchester United's long process of recruiting their next permanent manager finally came to a close yesterday, with the news that Erik ten Hag will be in charge of the team for next season.
The Dutchman has long been seen as one of the leading candidates for the position, with the majority of the club's fanbase seeming to favour a move for the Ajax boss.
He will be expected to bring an attractive style of play to the club, rejuvenating what has been a stagnant an massively disappointing playing squad this season.
Of course, ten Hag was not the only name considered. It had been thought this was a two-horse race involving himself and Mauricio Pochettino, with the Argentine apparently keen on a return to the Premier League after a difficult spell at PSG.
In fact, the former Spurs boss reportedly thought the job was his up until recent days.
Mauricio Pochettino shocked by Erik ten Hag appointment
In an interesting piece on The Athletic, we are given more detail on how Manchester United's search for a new manager unfolded.
Discussions were held with both ten Hag and Pochettino, with the club going as far as to discuss potential contract details with the latter. As a result, he felt he was in prime position for the job.
However, ten Hag would soon become the front runner due to impressing during discussions as well as the possible complications around getting PSG to release their current manager.
The only issue is that they apparently didn't bother to inform Pochettino of the latest developments. It is said he was taken by surprise when news of ten Hag's potential appointment broke last week. Here's how The Athletic summed it up:
United held talks with Pochettino, which sources describe as “positive”, and topics covered included how the squad might look next season.
Pochettino himself was said to feel confident of getting a proposal after a courtship dating back years...
As talks advanced to Ten Hag’s contract and logistics around the proposed deal, news broke of United’s intentions. The timing was awkward, as Pochettino had yet to be informed of the developments.
Two months before, Pochettino had been properly gathering information about Manchester as a city, the structure of the club and the personality of United players. As late as April, his representatives even held a Zoom call with Judge over possible contract finances, with PSG relaxed about the situation.
However, senior PSG sources insist that United at no point this season made direct contact with the French club’s hierarchy to discuss extricating Pochettino from Paris. United planned to call Pochettino to inform directly of their decision before the announcement came.
You can read the in-depth piece in full here.
While Mauricio Pochettino can have few complaints with the final decision, the shock he displayed with the appointment of ten Hag shows just how open this race was until recent weeks.
Manchester United will now be hoping that they have ended up with the right man in the role.