Erik ten Hag's Man Utd backroom staff set to be finalised with first agreement reached
Mitchell van der Gaag is expected to follow the 51-year-old from the Eredivisie to the Premier League after one season alongside Ten Hag in Amsterdam. The duo guided Ajax to their third league title in four completed seasons on Wednesday and now Van der Gaag is said to have reached an agreement with the Red Devils, having attended a top-secret meeting with club officials on Thursday.
Steve McClaren is also set to join the pair in the United dugout, sharing close links to both Ten Hag and his new club. McClaren was Sir Alex Ferguson 's assistant during the famous treble-winning campaign in 1999, staying on for successful another term at Old Trafford before becoming Middlesbrough manager.
After a disappointing spell as England boss, McClaren went to Twente in the Netherlands and employed Ten Hag as his assistant. Now the circle is close to being complete, with the pair swapping roles at the Theatre of Dreams.
Van der Gaag, meanwhile, has has enjoyed a nomadic coaching career which saw him appointed Ajax's reserve manager in 2019. From there, the former Motherwell defender, 50, earned his stripes and made the step up to the first-team picture ahead of a memorable 2021-22 campaign.
Ajax thrashed Heerenveen 5-0 on Wednesday to confirm their title triumph, with Ten Hag declaring: "Yeah, at some point, you get a certain feeling and it's double because I'm leaving and that this was the last time. And that is difficult because I've worked with so many great people, especially the players. We've done so many great things together. But there is a time to leave."
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When the Dutch tactician was told by the interviewer that everybody at the Johan Cruyff Arena was grateful for his work, Ten Hag humbly responded: "I hope so, I definitely feel it and I am very proud of what we did here together. Ajax is Europe proof again and Ajax plays for titles. There is a very strong foundation to build further upon."
Ajax chief executive and former Red Devils goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar also spoke on the pitch post-match and thanked the incoming United manager for his work. You surpassed all expectations. Dominant football, semi-final Champions League, league titles," Van der Sar said. "You will leave for a club that is close to my heart. I wish you all the best there. Thank you, Erik ten Hag!"