Ten Hag holds 'positive' talks with Ratcliffe after Man Utd investment

AFP , Thursday 4 Jan 2024

Erik ten Hag said he held "very positive" talks with Jim Ratcliffe when the under-fire Manchester United boss met the club's new minority stakeholder this week.

Erik ten Hag
Manchester United s head coach Erik ten Hag smiles before the English Premier League soccer match between Nottingham Forest and Manchester United at City Ground in Nottingham, England, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2023. AP


Ratcliffe's INEOS group will assume control of United's football operations once the purchase of a 25 percent share in the Old Trafford club is ratified.

The British billionaire has been in Manchester for a series of meetings with club staff, including Ten Hag, who has been heavily criticised during a troubled second season in charge.

United crashed out of the Champions League in the group stage, were eliminated from the League Cup by Newcastle and are languishing nine points adrift of the Premier League's top four, in eighth place.

Ten Hag is under intense pressure after 14 defeats so far this season -- but the Dutch coach said his first contact with Ratcliffe went well.

"It was very positive, I have to say. We had a long meeting, for many hours we sat together and on many issues we are on the same page so it was very positive," Ten Hag said on Thursday.

"I think from both sides it was a very constructive meeting and we look forward to working with them."

United travel to Wigan in the FA Cup third round on Monday and a shock defeat to the third-tier side would add to the pressure on Ten Hag.

One of many issues to plague Ten Hag this term has been the future of Jadon Sancho.

The England forward has not featured since August after falling out with the Dutchman when he was dropped for a match at Arsenal.

Sancho is said to be close to rejoining Borussia Dortmund on a loan until the end of the season, but Ten Hag would not be drawn on the reports.

"I can't say anything about that," he said. "We have to wait and see how things are going and when we have news of course we will tell you."

Ten Hag confirmed United have triggered contract extensions for Victor Lindelof, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Hannibal Mejbri.

The club are understood to be in discussions with Raphael Varane and Anthony Martial over their futures instead of taking up options in their current contracts.

"We are talking with Rapha Varane, with Anthony Martial, and we triggered the options on Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof and Hannibal," Ten Hag said.

Asked why the two players' contract options had not been triggered, he said: "I think that is an internal discussion between the club and the players."

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