Manchester United held “positive” talks with Erik ten Hag on Monday – with the club hierarchy thought to be impressed by his vision and philosophy.
The interview was part of the ongoing process to appoint the next permanent first-team boss.
That process is said to have now reached a more advanced stage, but does not mean Ten Hag has emerged as the club’s first choice.
As part of the process, United also plan to speak to their other preferred candidates.
According to United sources, there is no early favourite yet and they are open-minded about the identity of their new manager.
Sky Sports News reported earlier this week the other candidates are Mauricio Pochettino, Julen Lopetegui and Luis Enrique.
Ten Hag has a contract at Ajax that runs until the summer of 2023, but United’s good relationship with the Dutch club – former goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar is chief executive – allowed them to speak to him.
The club want to make a decision on their next permanent manager as soon as possible. However, they have not put a formal deadline on the process, which is being led by Darren Fletcher and John Murtough.
Ajax have declined to comment, while Ten Hag’s representatives have been contacted for comment.
United had previously distanced themselves from coverage suggesting they are circling around Thomas Tuchel amid Chelsea’s uncertain future with one source describing it as “media talk not reality”.
They maintained there is a four-man shortlist being considered to take charge of the club, which does not feature the reigning European Cup-winning manager.
United are aware the opening move for a new ownership group at Stamford Bridge will be to secure Tuchel’s future.
The 48-year-old has also displayed the absolute opposite of a desire to exit Chelsea, navigating difficult circumstances with aplomb and underlining his happiness despite the upheaval.
United want a manager in place ahead of the new season.
Source: Sky Sports