Erik ten Hag’s position as Manchester United coach has not felt secure for the most of the 2023/24 season.
The Red Devils have struggled in the Premier League this season, were eliminated from the Carabao Cup, and are now out of Europe entirely after placing last in their Champions League group.
Many fans want Ten Hag to move on, while others believe the situation above and the slew of injuries warrant giving him the opportunity to dig Man Utd out of the latest hole they’ve dug for themselves.
Naturally, a number of names have been connected with the position should it become open, including former Chelsea and Brighton manager Graham Potter.
Why would Manchester United target Graham Potter?
Potter has been predicted to be a potential England manager. / Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
Potter’s reputation as a coach is difficult to assess right now. He became well-known for his work at Brighton, where he was instrumental in discovering young players that excelled in the Seagulls’ squad and eventually made the club a lot of money through transfer sales.
when he cannot take complete credit for the additions, players such as Tariq Lamptey, Kaoru Mitoma, Simon Adingra, Billy Gilmour, Julio Enciso, Leandro Trossard, Marc Cucurella, Moises Caicedo, and Pervis Estupinan joined Brighton when Potter was the coach.
He was able to effectively collaborate with both young and experienced players to build a side that not only played exciting, aggressive football, but also produced results.
It was his time on the south coast that prompted Manchester United to make a play for the Englishman, and there’s a reason Chelsea wanted him to join them for their new era under Todd Boehly.
Potter, on the other hand, had a disastrous seven-month stint at Chelsea. He succeeded Thomas Tuchel in September 2022, but had lost the post by April, winning only 12 of 31 games during his tenure.
In Potter’s defence – and this may be Manchester United’s view as well – the Chelsea team was unlikely to prosper regardless of coach. Eight new players were added to an already overcrowded Blues roster, making the team even more fractured and difficult to find a consistent core.
That experience at Chelsea must be considered when Man Utd makes a decision, but there are other advantages from his Brighton days that suggest he can succeed at a large club. While Manchester United isn’t exactly a stable work environment, Potter ended up at the only major Premier League team where things were and may still be considerably more turbulent.
According to 90min, Potter plans to return to coaching in 2024 and has turned down earlier invitations to take over at Lyon in France and Leicester City in the Championship.
If Manchester United decide to move on from Ten Hag, Potter’s name should be considered. He is not a high-profile option, but major appointments have rarely worked at Manchester United.
Will Manchester United sack Erik ten Hag?
Erik Ten Hag
Ten Hag may be given additional time (Richard Sellers/Allstar/Getty Images)
The other factor to consider here is that Manchester United are not certain to fire Ten Hag. The club and coach find themselves in a perplexing and unique situation.
While the results have been dismal, Ten Hag has earned praise for a strong debut season as Red Devils coach. While the high number of injuries is an important issue to consider when evaluating his performance, the Dutchman has virtually been without a full starting lineup throughout the early portions of the 2023/24 season.
Manchester United may be missing Victor Lindelof, Marcus Rashford, Tyrell Malacia, Mason Mount, Lisandro Martinez, Harry Maguire, Christian Eriksen, Casemiro, and Anthony Martial, as well as the suspended Bruno Fernandes, when they face Liverpool on Sunday. You only need a custodian, and you already have a starting lineup.
That can help explain the pitch outcomes, but there is also the ownership question to consider. Is anyone in a position to fire Ten Hag and employ Potter or another coach?
INEOS’ 25% investment in the club has yet to be officially confirmed, and Sir Jim Ratcliffe is expected to wield authority over the sporting aspect of the organisation. With that contract hanging on, someone at Manchester United would have to spend a lot of money to sign Ten Hag at this point.
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