Erik ten Hag has given his thoughts on the potential takeover of Manchester United following the Glazers’ announcement that they are prepared to sell the club.
And the Dutchman is certain that there will be good times ahead as a result of the ground-breaking shift in the owners’ attitude, which had previously shown no signs of relinquishing control of the club.
“My information is that it will only be good things, because there will be more investment possible, which is good,” Ten Hag told The Athletic.
It seems as though the manager is almost as excited at the prospect of a Glazer-less United as fans are, and his awareness of the challenge facing the club to catch up with its competitors is clear.
“I look at the competition around the Premier League. They all have the opportunity to invest. It’s a tough competition between seven or eight clubs.
“That’s a change in circumstances when you compare with five or 10 years ago – the competition is much tougher. Newcastle are coming, even West Ham, maybe not now in the table, but they have huge investment, Spurs definitely, and then City, Chelsea, and Liverpool, I don’t need to talk about them.
“Seven or eight clubs can compete in the league. Even at the bottom, I don’t see weak teams. They’re all strong. There’s no easy games.”
The prospect of a Manchester United unburdened by interest payments, dividends, and a general lack of concern for the club’s infrastructure would be a vastly different beast to the one that currently competes with the teams Ten Hag mentions.
And it seems as though the manager has been assured that he will be given the tools necessary to help United realise their full potential. He was informed of the possibility of a sale by Chief executive Richard Arnold.
“He said they’re open and transparent,” Ten Hag said. “We spoke about the culture we want, we spoke about objectives, goals and the culture and he confirmed it won’t change, that it will be even better because more money will become available for this project.”
Whether the club ends up being sold in full or simply attracting new investors, it appears that Ten Hag has been assured that his job at United will be made easier by the Glazers’ decision to seek ‘strategic alternatives.’
But the former Ajax boss is well aware that simply having an injection of cash will not be enough to bring Man United back to the summit of English football.
“I think it’s also about strategy, not just money,” he said. “It’s clear that when you don’t have the right players and quality players, you will not be successful and achieve the targets you set. The competition is really tough, so you need the right players.
“If we go back to where we started — unless everyone is unified, then you won’t achieve that; so in a way, you’re in a better situation now than you were because everybody is unified.
“We are moving in a better direction. But still there is a lot of room for improvement.”
There is every chance that Richard Arnold would not remain in his current position should a full sale occur – upheaval at the executive level is a common feature of takeover in any industry, doubly so for a football club.
But given the strong start to his tenure in the Premier League, as well as his clear understanding of what need to be done to bring United out of the mire, Ten Hag would surely be well-regarded by any new investor.
He certainly recognizes the need for heightened standards at United if the club is to achieve its aims, something that has often seemed to be missing over the last decade.
“I always say satisfaction makes you lazy. If you are too satisfied with yourself and the team, you will not maintain those high standards. It’s up to me to control that and set a good example.
“We have to live the high standards all the time and then we can compete with the best clubs in the Premier League and achieve our goals.”
Under Erik ten Hag and potentially under new ownership, Manchester United fans may well be looking at the beginning of a new era at Old Trafford.