Erik ten Hag says the challenge of getting Manchester United back on track is a "difficult but fantastic one" as the Dutchman prepares to take over at Old Trafford.

United confirmed last month that Ajax head coach Ten Hag will replace interim manager Ralf Rangnick at the end of the 2021-22 campaign.

The Red Devils have gone five seasons without winning any silverware and will finish this campaign with their lowest ever Premier League points tally.

Ten Hag will be tasked with bringing an end to that barren spell, while also guiding United back into the top four at the very least.

He told Voetbal International: "It feels like a challenge to put the club back on track of winning. The options are there, including financially.

"I've also got a good feeling about the people who are there, and that we can take a step in the direction."

Ten Hag had previously been unwilling to discuss his new job while still in charge of Ajax, where he has spent the past four and a half years.

But after winning the Eredivisie title with the Dutch giants for a third time this week, Ten Hag has now opened up on his decision to swap Ajax for United.

"I know United went through a very precise procedure," he said. "They'd done scouting, analyses, data, interviews with people who worked with me. Then we held multiple interviews. They didn't rush into things and neither did I.

"It felt like a difficult, but fantastic challenge. At United, there's something to build and something to win. Manchester United is such a big name in the history of football. It's not for nothing they call Old Trafford the Theatre of Dreams.

"It's a club with an allure in international football. Everyone knows their history. The history is impressive, but I've also researched the present and future and the possibilities."

Ten Hag is reported to have met with United football director John Murtough on Thursday to discuss transfer targets, with Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong said to be among them.

Ajax assistant Mitchell van der Gaag and ex-England boss Steve McLaren, who are tipped to join Ten Hag at Old Trafford, were also reportedly at the meeting in Amsterdam.

But while Ten Hag's focus is now on reviving United's fortunes, the 52-year-old insists he was never once distracted when it came to his work with Ajax.

"I was able to separate the interests of the two," he said. "Ajax was never let down. The club got all the attention it needed. I always had matters well prepared and was completely focused on Ajax."

Ajax face Vitesse on Sunday in their final match under Ten Hag, who will be succeeded at the Johan Cruijff ArenA by Club Brugge boss Alfred Schreuder.

Alfred Schreuder will take over from Manchester United-bound Erik ten Hag as Ajax head coach.

Ten Hag will head to Old Trafford at the end of the season, having seen his Ajax team wrap up the Eredivisie title on Wednesday with a 5-0 rout of Heerenveen.

Ajax on Thursday confirmed Ten Hag's replacement, announcing they have reached an agreement with Club Brugge boss Schreuder.

The 49-year-old, who served as Ten Hag's assistant in 2018-19, when Ajax reached the Champions League semi-finals, has signed a two-year deal with an option for a third.

Schreuder only joined Belgian side Brugge in January, and is hoping to lead them to glory in the play-offs for the Belgian championship.

 

He coached Hoffenheim in 2019-20, though left in June of that season and linked up with Ronald Koeman at Barcelona, acting as assistant to the former Netherlands boss, who will take charge of the Dutch giants once again following the World Cup later this year.

"Becoming head coach at Ajax is an honour and a great opportunity, that I will grab with both hands," Schreuder said.

"I'm also excited to return here, because I enjoyed the one and a half years I've worked at Ajax very much. I wish to win prizes here in Amsterdam, with a team that plays attractive football. With a good balance between experienced top players and very big talents.

"But first I want to end the season with Club Brugge successfully. I want to say goodbye with a title, that is very important to me and I will do my absolute best to accomplish that."

Ajax chief executive Edwin van der Sar added: "We know Alfred as a tactically strong trainer with good and versatile exercise material. These last years he has gained experience as a head coach and as assistant coach at top clubs in various countries and competitions."

Erik ten Hag will head to Manchester United as a champion after his Ajax side wrapped up their latest Eredivisie triumph in style on Wednesday.

Ajax have been locked in a tense tussle with PSV for much of this season but headed into the penultimate round of matches knowing victory against Heerenveen would clinch the title.

Ten Hag's men did not disappoint, winning 5-0 at the Johan Cruijff ArenA through goals from Nicolas Tagliafico, Steven Berghuis, Sebastien Haller, Brian Brobbey and Edson Alvarez.

That result made PSV's own 3-2 win against NEC immaterial, with a four-point gap maintained.

It secures Ajax's 36th championship and seventh in the past 11 full seasons, with Ten Hag overseeing three successes. He is the fourth coach to win three or more titles with Ajax.

And Ten Hag's class of 2021-22 made history as they finished with a flourish, winning by five or more goals for a record 10th time this season alone.

DR Congo international winger Jody Lukoki has died aged 29, with the cause of his death currently unknown.

Lukoki came through the ranks at Dutch giants Ajax before spells with PEC Zwolle, Bulgarian club Ludogorets and Turkish side Yeni Malatyaspor.

The 29-year-old, who won three Eredivisie titles with Ajax, signed for FC Twente on a two-year deal last June but suffered a cruciate ligament injury in pre-season training.

Lukoki had his contract terminated by Twente in February for what the club described as "events in his personal life".

Twente confirmed the passing of Lukoki on Monday in a statement that read: "This morning FC Twente received the terrible news that Jody Lukoki has passed away.

"The club is shocked and deeply moved by this tragic event. FC Twente sympathises with his loved ones and wishes them a lot of strength in processing this great loss."

Zwolle also paid tribute: "PEC Zwolle has learned with dismay and sadness of the far too early death of former player Jody Lukoki.

"Lukoki will forever be remembered as PEC Zwolle's first goalscorer in an official European game. PEC Zwolle wishes the relatives of Jody Lukoki a lot of strength to bear this enormous loss."

While Turkish side Yeni Malatyaspor added: "We learned with sadness the news that Jody Lukoki, who wore our club's jersey in the 2020-2021 Super League season, passed away.

"Our condolences to his family and community."

Lukoki represented the Netherlands at youth international level but opted to play for DR Congo, who he made his senior debut for in 2015.

All three caps for the Leopards came in friendly matches, with his last coming against Burkina Faso in 2020.

Erik ten Hag says questions about the future of Cristiano Ronaldo and other Manchester United stars are "for the future" as he focuses on attempting to see Ajax over the line in the Eredivisie title race.

It was confirmed last month Ten Hag will be the replacement for interim boss Ralf Rangnick from next season.

The long-term future of Portugal superstar Ronaldo, who signed on for a second spell at Old Trafford from Juventus back in August, has been shrouded in doubt despite the fact he has another year on his contract, with an option to extend for a third season, and has contributed 18 Premier League goals for a United side that has badly underperformed this season.

Reports in the British media suggested Dutchman Ten Hag wants Ronaldo to be a part of his plans next term, but when asked about the prospect of working with the 37-year-old at a news conference previewing Ajax's clash with AZ, he kept his cards pressed firmly to his chest.

"They are questions for the future and not in this moment," he said.

"I want to answer questions about Ajax, we are in an important race, and an important week. I want to focus on Ajax and not on Manchester United."

There have been rumours Ten Hag could look to take some of his Ajax squad with him to Old Trafford, with Sebastien Haller, Antony, and Jurrien Timber among those linked with a switch.

Ten Hag denied suggestions any deals are in place, though.

"No, there are no agreements about that," he added. "I now have very good players, but it's not an issue at all."

Sensational comebacks are increasingly a staple of the modern Champions League, and this season they have belonged almost exclusively to Real Madrid.

Los Blancos trailed Manchester City 1-0 heading into the 90th minute at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday, with Pep Guardiola's team leading 5-3 on aggregate.

Yet two goals in the space of 91 seconds from Rodrygo forced extra-time, and Carlo Ancelotti's team set up a meeting with Liverpool in Paris when Karim Benzema converted a penalty to claim a 3-1 win (6-5 on aggregate).

It was the third stunning turnaround Madrid have enjoyed in the knockout stages this campaign, following Benzema's hat-trick against Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 and Rodrygo's goal against Chelsea to secure an aggregate win in the quarters last month.

Here's a few other incredible comebacks to jog your memory.

Real Madrid 3-1 PSG (3-2 agg), 2022

Madrid have done it the hard way this season, as they target a 14th European title. 

Not many fancied them to get through against PSG, especially when Kylian Mbappe, who had scored a stunning goal in the first leg in Paris in February, put Mauricio Pochettino's team ahead at the Santiago Bernabeu with a crisp finish.

Yet Gianluigi Donnarumma's slack play enabled Benzema to pounce and pull one back, with the striker then scoring twice in two minutes to turn the tie on its head and set Madrid en route to the final.

Barcelona 6-1 PSG (6-5 agg), 2017

Barcelona remain the perpetrators of the most remarkable of all Champions League comebacks, at least in terms of deficit overhauled.

Trailing 4-0 from the first leg of their last-16 tie with PSG, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi scored either side of a Layvin Kurzawa own goal, only for Edinson Cavani to grab what was expected to be the decisive strike for the visitors.

However, two quick Neymar goals – the second a highly controversial penalty after an apparent Suarez dive – levelled the tie at 5-5.

Then, in the fifth minute of stoppage time, Sergi Roberto struck to create a slice of Champions League history – no side had ever turned around a four-goal first-leg deficit before.

Roma 3-0 Barcelona (4-4 agg, Roma won on away goals), 2018

The boot was on the other foot when Barcelona were dethroned in the Italian capital last year as Roma completed one of the most unlikely turnarounds in quarter-final history.

Eusebio Di Francesco's side came back from a 4-1 first-leg deficit to progress to the last eight on away goals after a thrilling 3-0 win in front of their home fans.

Edin Dzeko, Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas secured the 4-4 aggregate draw and sent the Stadio Olimpico into raptures, as Barca completely fell to pieces.

Liverpool 4 Barcelona 0 (4-3 agg), 2019

Fresh from netting a late winner at Newcastle United the weekend before, Divock Origi allowed the Liverpool faithful to dream by poaching his maiden Champions League goal in the seventh minute.

Jurgen Klopp needed Alisson to be on form as he saved from Messi and Suarez, before another unlikely hero emerged.

Andrew Robertson's injury forced James Milner to left-back and Georginio Wijnaldum into the fray at half-time. By the hour, the Dutch midfielder had Liverpool level thanks to two goals in 122 delirious seconds.

Origi had the final word thanks to Trent Alexander-Arnold's quick thinking from a 79th-minute corner, leaving Barcelona and Messi crestfallen once more. The Reds went on to beat Tottenham in an all-English final.

Real Madrid 1-4 Ajax (5-3 agg), 2019

Despite their impressive display in their 2-1 first-leg defeat, nobody really seemed to think Ajax could turn things around at the Santiago Bernabeu. Sergio Ramos certainly did not – he earned a booking to avoid the risk of a quarter-final ban, earning an extra-game suspension from UEFA in the process.

In the absence of their captain, Madrid completely capitulated amid a fearless and thrilling Ajax – the type of which Liverpool might yet be faced with in the final.

Hakim Ziyech and David Neres put the visitors 2-0 up after only 18 minutes and it was 3-0 just after the hour mark thanks to the inspired Dusan Tadic.

Marco Asensio got a goal back, but Lasse Schone's free-kick beat Thibaut Courtois and sent Madrid crashing out. It was the first time they had ever been knocked out after winning the first leg of a Champions League tie.

PSG 1-3 Manchester United (3-3 agg, United won on away goals), 2019

It really had been quite the season for upsets in Europe's premier competition. A day on from Ajax's thrashing of Madrid, United made history at Parc des Princes.

No side had ever won a knockout tie after trailing 2-0 from a first leg at home, and with 10 senior players missing, including the banned Paul Pogba, United's chances looked slim.

Romelu Lukaku scored just two minutes in, though, and despite Juan Bernat's equaliser on the night, Lukaku struck again after a Gianluigi Buffon error to make it 2-1.

As the game crept towards second-half injury time, Diogo Dalot's shot struck Presnel Kimpembe's arm and the referee awarded a penalty after a lengthy VAR review. Marcus Rashford scored it, United progressed, and the clamour for Solskjaer to be given the permanent manager's job grew louder.

Deportivo La Coruna 4-0 AC Milan (5-4 agg), 2004

Deportivo were among Spain's major forces just after the turn of the century and one of their finest moments in Europe came in April 2004 when, despite being 4-1 down from the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final with AC Milan, they stunned the Italians at home.

Walter Pandiani, Juan Carlos Valeron and Albert Luque had Depor ahead on away goals before half-time, with Fran Gonzalez – who played for them in the second division in the late 80s and is still their record appearance holder – fittingly scored the fourth to make sure of their passage.

Depor were eliminated by eventual winners Porto in the semi-finals, but this comeback stood as arguably the very best in Champions League history until Barca went one better.

Liverpool 3-3 AC Milan (AET, 3-2 on pens), 2005

That famous night in Istanbul. Liverpool found themselves on the end of a hiding at half-time in the 2005 Champions League final, as Paolo Maldini and a Hernan Crespo brace had the Serie A side 3-0 up.

But the second half proved to be one of the most iconic 45 minutes in Liverpool's history, with goals from Steven Gerrard, Vladimir Smicer and Xabi Alonso levelling the match up by the hour mark.

Milan then failed to hold their nerve in the penalty shootout, as Jerzy Dudek's leggy antics in the Liverpool goal helped the Pole outsmart both Andrea Pirlo and Andriy Shevchenko after Serginho blazed the first kick over, resulting in the Premier League side lifting their fifth European title.

Manchester United 2-1 Bayern Munich, 1999

Possibly the two most dramatic minutes in the history of European club football.

United were trailing 1-0 to Bayern Munich in the 1999 final at Camp Nou, with Mario Basler's skidding free-kick into the bottom-right corner looking set to be enough for the Bavarian giants to end a 23-year wait for glory in the continent's top-tier competition.

However, the United of Alex Ferguson's era could never be discounted until the final whistle, and substitute Teddy Sheringham swept Ryan Giggs' shot into the bottom corner to bring the scores level in the 91st minute.

Solskjaer, another late substitute and now the man in the United dug-out, avoided the need for extra time by stabbing Sheringham's header from a David Beckham corner into the roof of the net as United completed an historic treble in astonishing fashion.

Barcelona 5-1 Chelsea (AET, 6-4 agg), 2000

A 3-1 first-leg loss at Stamford Bridge – having trailed 3-0 – had Barca in danger of being on the wrong end of a major 1999-00 Champions League upset prior to the Roman Abramovich era, but in the return match the Catalans showed their true class.

Tore Andre Flo's 60th-minute goal was sending Chelsea through despite Rivaldo and Luis Figo scoring before the break, but Dani Garcia scored seven minutes from the end of regulation to force extra time.

Rivaldo then converted a penalty after Celestine Babayaro was sent off and Patrick Kluivert wrapped things up, crushing Chelsea's dreams.

Erik ten Hag appears as though he will have a huge say over his own Manchester United transfer targets.

The Dutchman has inked a three-year deal at Old Trafford, with the option for a further year.

Ten Hag will officially take over on July 1, with Ralf Rangnick remaining in interim charge.

A face familiar to the Premier League could now be headed to Old Trafford with Ten Hag from Ajax…


TOP STORY - TEN HAG TO BRING HALLER TO UNITED

Manchester United may make a move for Ajax striker Sebastien Haller in the off-season according to The Sun.

Haller currently plays under ten Hag, who will take over at United at the end of the campaign.

The Ivory Coast striker, who spent two years with West Ham United, has netted 33 goals in all competitions for Ajax this term.

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona are optimistic that they can land Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski in the off-season, reports Sport. Lewandowski is contracted with Bayern until 2023.

- Liverpool have contacted 22-year-old Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni about a move to England, claims Foot Mercato.

- Nicolo Schira claims that Inter are not interested in signing Bosnian midfielder Miralem Pjanic, contrary to reports. Pjanic is currently on loan at Besiktas from Barcelona.

- David de Gea and Manchester United are ready to enter into talks on a contract extension reports 90min.

- Fabrizio Romano claims that Luka Modric will ink a new deal with Real Madrid running until 2023.

A 10th Ligue 1 title for Paris Saint-Germain has evidently left a bitter-sweet taste.

Their devastating elimination at the hands of Real Madrid in the Champions League made for a fourth last-16 exit in the past six seasons, following final and semi-final defeats to Bayern Munich and Manchester City respectively.

Amid protests that culminated in fans walking out of the Parc des Princes as PSG claimed the domestic title at the weekend, the remedy reportedly appears to be a new coach.


TOP STORY – CONTE TO REPLACE POCHETTINO AT PSG

Paris Saint-Germain appear set to dismiss Mauricio Pochettino as their head coach and have lined up Antonio Conte as his replacement, Le Parisien is reporting.

Pochettino's exit is reportedly imminent and all that is left for the club is to come to a financial settlement, with another season left on the contracts of Pochettino and his staff.

PSG's preferred choice as Pochettino's replacement is apparently Zinedine Zidane, but he appears more intent to replace Didier Deschamps as France's national team coach if he leaves after the World Cup.

Tottenham boss Conte would be brought in on a two-year deal. 


ROUND-UP

Lucas Paqueta has told Lyon head coach Peter Bosz he will let the club know of his desire to stay or leave at season's end, according to the Chronicle.

- Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus is also yet to commit to his future beyond the end of this season, the Guardian reports.

Real Betis are keen to sign Real Madrid's Isco, who will be leaving at the end of the season, per Marca.

- Mundo Deportivo is reporting Barcelona are considering a bid for Ajax centre-back Lisandro Martinez.

Bayern Munich signing Erling Haaland "doesn't make any sense" for sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic because they have Robert Lewandowski.

Haaland is believed to be available for €75million due to a clause in his Borussia Dortmund contract and is set leave in one of the upcoming off-season's major transfers. 

The Norway international has scored 82 goals and supplied 19 assists in 86 appearances in all competitions for Dortmund since making his debut on January 18, 2020. He has averaged 1.1 goals per 90 minutes, a record that is only bettered by Bayern striker Lewandowski (1.2) among players in the top five European leagues.

Haaland has been touted as a potential replacement for Lewandowski, who Bayern were said to be open to offers for with his contract expiring at the end of next season. 

However, Lewandowski leaving the Allianz Arena at the end of the campaign has been ruled out by Salihamidzic, who therefore sees no reason to pursue Haaland. 

"It doesn't make any sense," Salihamidzic said when asked on Sky90 about Bayern moving for Haaland. 

"We have the best striker in the world. We have Lewandowski." 

Asked if there was any player Bayern would break the bank for, Salihamidzic replied: "That's up to the supervisory board. But we don't want to put the club at risk. That will continue to be our philosophy in the future. 

"Of course, after the Champions League win it would've been great to keep all the players – like [Philippe] Coutinho and [Ivan] Perisic – but we can't ruin the club financially. We can't do squad planning like that. 

"We have a philosophy at the club. We have 14 top players in the squad and a number of top talents we want to develop. We don't have the money for 20 top players like in England." 

One player who could be heading to Munich for next season is Ajax midfielder Ryan Gravenberch, though Bayern are yet to agree to reported demands of a €30million fee. 

"He is a good player. We're in talks, I can say that much," Salihamidzic revealed. 

"With a transfer like this, a lot has to go right. I can't say [how it is looking]. It's difficult, like all transfers." 

Salihamidzic is also expecting to see more from Leroy Sane, who has failed to score or assist in his past eight appearances in all competitions for Bayern. 

"He's an incredibly talented young man who has everything. He's super fast, he can dribble and has this mental strength. But he has to deliver now," he said. 

"When he's showing good body language, that's good, but if he doesn't, that's not good. I don't want to see this. I spoke to him about it. 

"He has potential, but I want to see that on the pitch. We spoke several times. The people in charge, the coach, the players, everyone expects him to explode on the pitch. It's hard to say why he's not performing as expected. He's listening well. I hope he'll do it." 

Rumours surrounding Kylian Mbappe's future are likely to rumble on for a couple more months yet.

For a long time, it was reported the France World Cup winner was a shoo-in to join LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

But more recently there have been rumblings he could be swayed to remain at Paris Saint-Germain, and a bumper new contract offer may be on the table.


TOP STORY – PSG READY TO OFFER MBAPPE HUGE MONEY TO HOLD OFF MADRID

Mbappe will be the hottest free agent on the market should he decide not to renew with PSG and a move to the Spanish capital still cannot be ruled out.

However, Goal reports his switch to the Santiago Bernabeu has hit a snag due to a dispute over the 23-year-old's image rights.

Meanwhile, PSG are reportedly ready to offer Mbappe an eye-watering €50million annual salary, a deal that would make him the highest paid player at the Parc des Princes, should he choose to remain in the French capital.


ROUND-UP

- Mauricio Pochettino may not be headed to Old Trafford to become Manchester United boss, but his PSG future still remains unclear. Le Parisien says Antonio Conte is tempted to leave Tottenham for the French capital.

- Declan Rice has put Manchester United and Chelsea on red alert after turning down a third contract offer from West Ham, which the Guardian said was worth £200,000 a week.

- Arsenal's continuing search for a striker has apparently led to interest in Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus. Edu, the Gunners' technical director, has been speaking to the Brazil star's representatives, according to the Athletic.

- Newcastle United are on the hunt for close-season reinforcements. Foot Mercato say Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby and Monaco defender Benoit Badiashile are both on the Magpies' radar.

Mauricio Pochettino insists he has "always been fully committed to my mission" at every club he has coached at amid rumours he was disappointed to miss out on the Manchester United job.

The Paris Saint-Germain boss had long-since been considered a front-runner to take over from interim manager Ralf Rangnick, who has filled in at Old Trafford since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked in November.

However, Ajax coach Erik ten Hag was confirmed as the latest man to try and restore the good times at United, with the Dutchman taking over on a three-year deal from next season.

Reports in the British press suggest Pochettino was caught off guard by United's decision, with the Argentinian said to have been researching Manchester as a city to live.

Speaking prior to PSG's clash with Lens on Saturday, a game in which even a point would mathematically clinch the title, Pochettino was adamant he is committed to his role at Parc des Princes.

"All the rumours that have come out this year and throughout my career have never bothered me," he said.

"I never commented on them. I coached Espanyol, Southampton, Tottenham, today PSG, and I have always been fully committed to my mission. 

"I work the same way by being focused on the objectives. If I paid attention to all the rumours, life would be different."

 

United's decision to overlook Pochettino means the former Tottenham boss' future remains unclear.

PSG are cantering towards the Ligue 1 title but were knocked out of the Champions League in a dramatic last-16 tie by Real Madrid.

Ralf Rangnick has not yet discussed his Manchester United future beyond this season as the interim manager gave his full backing to successor Erik ten Hag.

United confirmed on Thursday that Ajax head coach Ten Hag will take over from Rangnick in the Old Trafford hotseat from the end of this season.

The Dutchman, who has a 73.8 per cent win rate across 210 games in charge of Ajax, will become the Red Devils' fifth permanent manager since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.

Ten Hag has won two KNVB Cups and two Eredivisie titles in his four full campaigns at Ajax, with the Dutch giants on the verge of finishing top of the table again this term.

And while Rangnick does not have a personal connection with Ten Hag, he is a fan of the 52-year-old's style of play.

"We don't know each other, we haven't met as yet in person," Rangnick said. "I knew that Erik was one of the candidates the board spoke to.

"Obviously I told them, at least from what I had seen and know from people who have worked with Erik, that I think he would be a good choice.

"From I've seen of him, both at Bayern Munich when he was the under 23 coach and at Ajax now, I like his football.

"I'm positive with a full pre-season, with having the chance to build and mould his own staff and also a new team, we will see a different team and an improvement on the pitch."

 

Rangnick was placed in charge of United until the end of the season following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in November.

That deal included an agreement that would see the German stay on at United for a further two years in a consultancy position, but he is not sure if that remains the plan.

"We haven't had time to speak about that," Rangnick said when asked if he would be working behind the scenes next season.

Ten Hag will inherit a United squad that has gone five years without a trophy and with question marks surrounding the futures of many players.

Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Edinson Cavani are out of contract, while Nemanja Matic has already confirmed he is moving on when his existing deal expires.

United are also expected to be busy in terms of incoming activity as part of a major rebuild, which Rangnick is happy to help out with if called upon.

"It's obvious there are quite a few players with their contracts expiring," Rangnick said. 

"There might be a few others who – although they have contracts – are already on loan and still want to be on loan or leave the club. 

"It will be a significant change and rebuild necessary, that's clear, but how many players and which positions, as I've said, I've not spoken to Erik in person yet. 

"If he asks me my opinion in person, I'm willing to speak to him about my experience, but on the other hand, he'll also have his own ideas."

In what has been another hugely underwhelming campaign for United, skipper Harry Maguire has come in for more criticism than most for his displays in defence.

That personal abuse spilled over on Wednesday when the defender and his family received a bomb threat, though no device was discovered in his house.

Maguire is expected to be in contention to start Saturday's Premier League trip to Arsenal and has been given the full backing of Rangnick.

"I haven't seen him yet because I only got to know about this terrible, terrible thing yesterday afternoon and since then I haven't been able to speak with him," Rangnick said.

"This is another bad sign of the crazy world we're living in and, obviously, I feel very sorry for Harry that he had that terrible experience. 

"He knows that we are all behind him, the club is behind him, everybody, the players, his team-mates. It's sad enough that crazy things like that happen."

Manchester United are preparing for a complete overhaul of the playing group in the upcoming transfer window as incoming manager Erik ten Hag begins to build things his way.

Ten Hag, who is arriving from Ajax, has reportedly already seen enough of a number of regular contributors at United, and they will make way for players he believes can get the club back to their former glory.

Forward, midfielders and defenders are all on the chopping block, with very few positions expected to be safe heading into 2022-23.

 

TOP STORY – TEN HAG TO SWING THE AXE AT UNITED

The Sun is reporting United "could sell" Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and Alex Telles at the next opportunity.

Meanwhile, Sky Sports claims United's needs include a new centre-back, two central midfielders, a winger and a striker in what could shape up as a complete rebuild.

One player who will reportedly get a chance to prove his worth at Old Trafford once he returns from loan is Donny van de Beek, who played for Ten Hag at Ajax.

West Ham's Declan Rice is also high on the Dutchman's wishlist, per The Guardian, while the Telegraph claims Benfica striker Darwin Nunez is a key target.

 

ROUND-UP

– Sky Sports Germany is reporting RB Leipzig have no interest in parting ways with Christopher Nkunku next season, despite interest from United and Arsenal.

– According to Goal, Milan are keen to sign Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku, who spent two seasons at Inter before rejoining Chelsea this season.

Real Madrid are monitoring Newcastle United midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, per AS.

Manchester City and Newcastle United are both interested in 18-year-old Rangers academy midfielder Alex Lowry, according to Football Insider.

– Todofichajes reports that Christian Eriksen has agreed to return to Tottenham when his contract with Brentford expires at the end of this season.

David de Gea is "very excited" to work under Erik ten Hag after the Dutchman was confirmed as Manchester United's new manager on Thursday. 

Ten Hag will arrive from Ajax at the end of the season and take over from interim boss Ralf Rangnick on a three-year contract with an option to extend for another year. 

The 52-year-old is on course to win a third Eredivisie title with Ajax this season and has been lauded for his possession-based style. 

He guided Ajax to the Champions League semi-finals in 2018-19 and won two KNVB Bekers, though he was unable to make it a third last Sunday when his side were beaten 2-1 by PSV in the final.

De Gea is pleased to finally have clarity over United's managerial future and hopes they can focus on getting their push for a place in the Premier League's top four back on track. 

"Very excited the club has made the decision so now we all know," De Gea told United's official website. 

"We know what he has done for Ajax, he has nearly been in a Champions League final, he won titles and he develops players, so I’m very excited. 

"I think he plays very good football. Now we have to be very focused on the last games but we are excited to know who is coming. But now let's focus on Arsenal and fight until the end to be in the top four. 

"It's good to know and for sure he is already watching the games and thinking about what he can do to improve the team, so that's very good for us. I'm looking forward to working under him. 

"Of course, now the focus on Arsenal, it's a final [for us], we have to take the three points, [otherwise] the top four is done. Let's be focused and win the game." 

Erik ten Hag has been charged with the task of trying to make Manchester United a force again, and he faces a significant rebuilding job.

The Dutchman will leave Ajax at the end of the season to take charge of the Red Devils after agreeing a deal until June 2025, with the option of a further year.

It is not just shaping a squad that has struggled to coalesce this season that will be on his to-do list.

Ten Hag's in-tray will be piled high as he sets about making a short-term impact, while implementing the "long-term vision" that impressed United's hierarchy. 

Stats Perform looks at the pressing issues for the 52-year-old to address.

Change the mentality

A 3-2 win over Norwich City last weekend aside, United have been in poor form and are in danger of ending the season with a whimper.

It was men against boys as the Red Devils were thumped 4-0 at Liverpool on Tuesday and there have been far too many inept displays this season from a side lacking fight and quality.

Interim boss Ralf Rangnick has been unable to get a tune out of an underperforming group of players since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked last November, and a huge shake-up is needed.

Add some steel

United must build solid foundations in a new era under Ten Hag, as they have been far too fragile in another hugely disappointing season.

Ten Hag needs a strong spine in his team, and if he was watching the way Liverpool blew them away at Anfield, he will know United have anything but that at the moment.

United fans will demand winners who will put their body on the line in the heat of battle and there is a real shortage of them in the current squad.

Recruit wisely

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 21 goals after sensationally rejoining United from Juventus last September, but his signing was surely only ever going to be a short-term fix at best.

Solskjaer certainly appeared to struggle to build a team around the Portugal captain, and it would be no great surprise if the 37-year-old is on the move again.

Regardless of whether Ronaldo stays, Ten Hag will need to be backed in the transfer market and there must be a big overhaul, with Paul Pogba among those expected to depart.

Bring back silverware

There is no plainer objective for the new boss – he will be marked as a success or a failure by the trophies he wins during his time at the helm.

Solskjaer left the club with the third-best win rate in United's history, but he paid the price for a lack of silverware.

United have only been top of the Premier League at the end of a calendar month twice since Alex Ferguson left – in September 2015 and August 2017. It will surely take Ten Hag time to get them challenging for the title again, so he must ensure they make their presence felt in cup competitions.

Consider the captaincy

It has been a season to forget for United captain Harry Maguire.

The Red Devils skipper's talents are clear, as he has shown for club and country, but the centre-back has lost his way at Old Trafford.

The responsibility of leading a struggling side appears to have affected the England defender, and Ten Hag may decide to start his reign by appointing a new captain.

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