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The contenders to replace Erik ten Hag at Man Utd if he is sacked

Mauricio Pochettino at Old Trafford for a Soccer Aid game

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is sweating on his future as the club conducts an end-of-season review.

United endured a highly disappointing league season, although the campaign ended on a high with their win over Manchester City in the FA Cup final.

However, Ten Hag’s position remains in grave doubt, so Telegraph Sport takes a look at some of the potential candidates to replace him this summer.

After leaving Chelsea last week he has blown open the race to succeed Erik ten Hag, as he was not expected to be on the market. Famously had a lunch with Sir Alex Ferguson in 2016 when it looked like he might become the United manager but it never happened. But he has always been on the club’s radar and has a relationship with Sir Dave Brailsford from the new INEOS regime at Old Trafford.

Has a track record with developing young, homegrown talent from his time at Tottenham when Harry Kane came through under his watch, with his team getting to the Champions League final and punching well above their weight.

Tuchel has left Bayern Munich now the campaign is over and is thought to be very interested in the United job. The former Champions League-winning Chelsea manager has been on United shortlists in the past and there is recognition among the new Old Trafford hierarchy that the 50-year-old is accomplished and fluid tactically, articulate, has knowledge of the Premier League and a track record of winning.

But, with the squad needing a drastic overhaul and a new structure still being put in place, they would have to decide whether he was the right fit in terms of personality and character at this stage and with so much rebuilding to do.

The England manager has his admirers at Ineos and has shown he can unite a disparate, disillusioned group of players with his work with the national team, even if managing a club dressing room on a day-to-day basis with a plethora of different nationalities and personalities is not quite the same thing. Southgate knows United’s incoming sporting director Dan Ashworth well from their time at the Football Association together and the Ineos director of sport Sir Dave Brailsford and has the patience and level-headedness to work within a structure and evolving one.

There have already been hints that a Southgate appointment may not play well with United fans, though, and questions over playing style and whether he could command the credibility of the players at one of the biggest clubs. His experience of club management is also limited to three seasons with Middlesbrough dating back 15 years.

England vs France. FIFA World Cup Quarter-Final
Gareth Southgate would need to prove he can translate his success with England to club football - Mark Large

The latest coaching talent to emerge from Portugal, the 39-year-old has just guided Sporting Lisbon to a second title in four seasons and is tipped for big things. Liverpool opted to cool interest in Amorim in favour of pursuing Feyenoord’s Arne Slot after careful analysis and, as with other candidates, there would be risks attached and questions over whether he can make the jump to a club under such a relentless spotlight.

Sporting head coach Ruben Amorim looks on before the Liga Portugal soccer match between Sporting CP and Portimonense SC at Alvalade XXI Stadium, in Lisbon, Portugal, 04 May 2024
Amorim has led Sporting Lisbon to two titles in four years - Shutterstock/Antonio Pedro Santos

Amorim, who also spoke to West Ham, has tended to use an adaptable back three which might not lend itself particularly well to the make-up of this United squad without changes. He has shown himself to be very flexible in-game and operates an intense pressing game out of possession.

The 50-year-old Dane has worked wonders on a relative shoestring at Brentford since taking over as head coach in 2018 following a period as assistant manager. Proven time and again he can build teams, improve and develop players and be tactically astute and flexible.

Highly thought of among his peers, he is a good communicator and impressive in right of the camera, another attribute of importance at a club like United.

Brentford manager Thomas Frank during the Premier League match between Brentford FC and Fulham FC at Brentford Community Stadium on May 4, 2024 in Brentford, England
Frank has earned a reputation as a manager who can operate well within a strong club model - Getty Images/Rob Newell

Pep Guardiola rates him as one of the best managers in Europe and the Italian enjoyed a remarkable debut season with Brighton.

This season has proven more difficult, particularly with injuries to key players, but the quality of Brighton’s build-up play and possession play has ensured the 44-year-old tends to be in the conversation when the top jobs come around. United would have to be satisfied he had the temperament for the Old Trafford pressure cooker.

Brighton's Italian head coach Roberto De Zerbi celebrates at the end of the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Brighton and Hove Albion at the Emirates Stadium in London on May 14, 2023. Brighton wins 3 - 0 against Arsenal
Have Brighton's struggles this season hurt De Zerbi's chances of landing the next big job? - Getty Images/Glyn Kirk

The 48-year-old Madrid-born coach has been a revelation since taking over Girona in 2021 and presided over one of the success stories of the season by qualifying the club for the Champions League. For a long time, they were even involved in a nip and tuck title race with Real Madrid.

With Girona part of the City Football Group owned by Manchester City’s Abu Dhabi paymasters, Michel is well known to United’s new chief executive, Omar Berrada, who is due to formally start work on July 13 after leaving City in January. Michel, whose full name is Miguel Angel Sanchez Munoz, operates a possession game in the main but Girona have a direct and counter-attacking dimension to their play that has proven a handful for opponents.

Michel, Head Coach of Girona FC, looks on prior to the LaLiga EA Sports match between Girona FC and Cadiz CF at the Montilivi Stadium on April 20, 2024 in Girona, Spain
Girona's superb season in La Liga has been, in large part, down to the work of Michel - Getty Images/Alex Caparros

Earned a burgeoning reputation for himself with his work at Ostersund in Sweden and then Swansea and Brighton, laying much of the groundwork for De Zerbi. When Chelsea came calling in September 2022, it was too big an opportunity to turn down, albeit something of a poisoned chalice given the turbulence at the club under new owners and he was gone after just seven months and 31 games.

Graham Potter, Manager of Chelsea, looks dejected following the team's defeat in the Premier League match between Fulham FC and Chelsea FC at Craven Cottage on January 12, 2023 in London, England
Graham Potter has not worked since losing his job at Chelsea in April 2023 - Getty Images/Clive Rose

Potter has not rushed back into management and is picking his moment, waiting for the right job. Like Southgate, Potter is a calm individual and has shown he can work within a structure but there would be questions, particularly after the Chelsea experience, of whether he has the standing to take on such a huge job at Old Trafford.

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