Ajax technical manager Gerry Hamstra appeared to let slip that Erik ten Hag is indeed off to Manchester United this summer. The 51-year-old, speaking ahead of Ajax’s 2-1 KNVB Cup final defeat to PSV Eindhoven claimed the Amsterdam giants have done “everything” within their power to try and keep their current boss, including another contract extension.
However, Ten Hag appears to have already made up his mind, although the move is still being kept under wraps.
The Dutch tactician is understood to have verbally agreed a three-year contract – with the option of an additional 12 months – at Old Trafford with United set to finalise a compensation package with Ajax in due course.
That was all but confirmed by Hamstra, who accidentally conceded Ten Hag was set to depart, as expected.
When asked why Ajax didn’t do more to keep Ten Hag, he told ESPN: “I can be very clear about this: We did. We did everything to.. we are trying everything to keep him.”
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The United-bound tactician is yet to acknowledge his new venture and paid the ultimate price for creating outside distractions as his side surrendered a 1-0 half-time lead in De Topper.
Ryan Gravenberch had put Ajax ahead but two goals in two minutes after the break from Erick Gutierrez and Arsenal target Cody Gakpo flipped the season-defining showpiece on its head.
In addition to further questions on his future, Ten Hag will now be faced with self-inflicted scrutiny following his decision to drop top-scorer and club-record signing Sebastien Haller.
The former West Ham frontman, who has struck 33 times in 38 outings this season, was sorely missed in attack with star man Antony also absent through injury.
“Today it wasn’t meant to be, there were powers and forces that sometimes come along in football,” said Ten Hag.
With the gap currently at four points, table-toppers Ajax have five games to make something of their season as PSV seek to gain a timely psychological advantage via their triumph in Rotterdam.
United had been hoping to officially confirm the appointment of Ten Hag once the cup final was out of the way but the result may lead to further delays.
The Red Devils have their own objectives to achieve before the end of the season with their top-four hopes still very much alive following Tottenham and Arsenal’s defeats to Brighton and Southampton, respectively.