Manchester United and Richard Arnold cannot break their promise to Erik ten Hag this summer
Manchester United has been a graveyard for managers for nearly a decade and Erik ten Hag will be aware of that.
Ten Hag will become United's fifth permanent manager since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer all thought they could be the manager to restore the club to its former glory but none of them managed it.
"Glory, glory Man United," has been sparingly played through the Old Trafford PA system across that period. United's U18s winning the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday night was the first time a trophy had been lifted on the red side of Manchester for nine years. The club has been starved of success and the youngsters' Youth Cup triumph was a much needed positive story after a dark season.
Ten Hag would have been following that dark season from his home in Amsterdam. The Dutchman has enjoyed plenty of success in the Netherlands but taking the reins at United during this transitional period will be the biggest challenge of his career.
Although the size of the task ahead won't be wasted on Ten Hag, the reality is that an opportunity to manage Manchester United is just too good for him to reject. Ten Hag has managed Go Ahead Eagles, Bayern Munich II, Utrecht and Ajax. That's not the ordinary path to managing at Old Trafford. United will be desperately hoping Ten Hag is far from an ordinary manager.
However, Ten Hag wasn't going to agree to manage United without certain conditions being agreed upon. United's talks with the Dutchman were believed to have hit a small stumbling block last month and it was no surprise to see him linked with other jobs.
Those seemed like manufactured links from Ten Hag's camp to increase their strength in negotiations with United. Ten Hag just confirmed as much this week. "Despite it [United] being a beautiful club, I would never just start," Ten Hag told Voetbal International.
"I wanted to create good working conditions first, so every detail had to be taken care of. I know United went through a very precise procedure. They'd done scouting, analyses, data and interviews with people who have worked with me.
"Then we held multiple interviews. They didn't rush into things and neither did I. It felt like a difficult, but fantastic challenge. At United, there's something to build and something to win. Manchester United is such a big name in the history of football."
Ten Hag would have been stupid to walk into the position without outlining his demands. United haven't got much right over the last decade and the 52-year-old was right to make sure of the framework, so he has the best possible chance of succeeding.
It's not going to be easy for Ten Hag. United have deep-rooted problems at the club, which will take longer than one summer to address, and patience will be required for him to move the club back in the direction that it should be heading. United must give Ten Hag and his demands their unwavering support. Richard Arnold is now the club's chief executive and that change of leadership can have a positive impact throughout the club if Arnold is different to his predecessor, Ed Woodward.
There has been positive noise from Arnold's first few months in his new position, but this summer's transfer business, the new season and results on the pitch will be an early indicator of whether the executive has made a good start to his premiership or not. Ten Hag discussed wanting 'good working conditions' in his interview after winning the Eredivisie title this week and United need to follow through on agreeing to his terms. That will give the club the best possible chance of progression.
Previous managers have been forced to put out fires behind the scenes and that isn't conducive to success. United need a change of direction and Ten Hag needs to have the club's unconditional trust in all areas.