Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Man Utd transfer news: Bologna manager Thiago Motta on list to replace Ten Hag

A surprise new contender has emerged on the list of possible successors for beleaguered Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag.

Thiago Motta has led Bologna to the Champions League places in this season’s Serie A, with his side sitting on 51 points and ahead of other more established teams such as Roma and Napoli.

Players like Joshua Zirkzee and captain Lewis Ferguson have been among the top Italian league stars this term and have seen their names linked with far more glamorous teams.

Top scorer Zirkzee, 22, had a buyback option in the deal which took him from Bayern Munich which the Bavarians are reportedly interested in activating this summer.

Ferguson, meanwhile, was previously linked with Juventus and Napoli and, in recent months, those rumours have started up again.

Their manager, 41, has found his name on the list of sides including Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, Juventus, AC Milan and now Manchester United.

Motta, a Brazil-born former Italy international midfielder, made his name at Barcelona, Inter and PSG before moving into coaching roles with Genoa, Spezia and now Bologna.

Ratcliffe’s INEOS revolution in full swing

A report in TEAMtalk now claims that Motta has been discussed internally at Old Trafford as the club’s prospective next manager by Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his INEOS staff.

The billionaire took 27.7% control of the club in December and has set about his overhaul of the football department.

Omar Berrada has been recruited from Manchester City as CEO, Sir David Brailsford is also on board while Dan Ashworth could soon be announced as new sporting director.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe
© IMAGO – Sir Jim Ratcliffe

Question marks therefore hang over the head of coach Erik ten Hag, appointed under a previous regime.

Although the Dutchman has an impressive win ratio and led the side back to the Champions League last season, winning the Carabao Cup along the way, this season has been disappointing.

United are unlikely to qualify for the Champions League while they have suffered 11 league defeats in their 27 matches, including a battering at City last weekend.

Ten Hag’s record scrutinised

Ten Hag’s transfers have also been scrutinised with players like Antony, Andre Onana and Sofyan Amrabat handpicked by the manager but failing to impress.

He has also fallen out with £73 million asset Jadon Sancho, currently on loan with Borussia Dortmund.

Ten Hag Antony
© IMAGO – Ten Hag Antony

Accordingly there have been reports of a shortlist of contenders to replace the former Ajax manager.

Potter, Zidane on list of Man Utd contenders

Graham Potter, known to Ashworth from their Brighton days, has been linked as has Simone Inzaghi of Inter.

A more fanciful option, meanwhile, is Zinedine Zidane although he is unlikely to be swayed.

Motta represents a more left-field option but he has delivered a positive body of work in the Italian league this season.

It is not expected that United will dispose of Ten Hag before the end of the season with the club still in the hunt for European football. However, at the end of the campaign, his future will be under the microscope.

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