Manchester United Agree Another Deal With Ajax After Erik ten Hag

Ajax Amsterdam coach Erik ten Hag in the Champions League.

REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Erik ten Hag is set to become the new Manchester United manager after agreeing a three-year deal, with the option of a 12-month extension, and will be followed by another Ajax man to Old Trafford at the end of the season.

While Ten Hag’s pursuit was straightforward due to a clause in his Ajax contract worth £1.6m, the Red Devils had to work hard to convince the Amsterdam club to let Ten Hag’s assistant manager Mitchell van der Gaag follow their manager’s footsteps.

According to the Mirror, the Premier League giants have managed to get both Ten Hag and his No 2 by offering a package worth £2.5m. Van der Gaag has also agreed to put pen to paper on a three-year contract, with the option of a further year.

The 50-year-old was promoted as Ten Hag’s assistant in 2021 following his two-year spell with Jong Ajax, the reserve team of Ajax.

A central defender in his playing days, Van der Gaag specialises in organising defences. Ajax conceded just five goals in six Champions League group stage games this season. The 4-0 thrashing of United at the hands of Liverpool highlighted just how much coaching their defence needs.

Van der Gaag’s man-management skill is also impressive. The Dutchman prefers to talk to players individually, and his ability to speak several languages fluently certainly comes in handy. He is fluent in five languages – Dutch, English, Spanish, Portuguese and French.

The pair are not expected to be joined by Steve McClaren at United. Sir Alex Ferguson’s ex-assistant was linked with a return due to his past at the club as well as his experience of working alongside Ten Hag. The latter was McClaren’s assistant at Dutch outfit Twente.

But there are likely to be more additions to Ten Hag’s staff, with United already sounding out their former striker Robin van Persie about a return.