Ajax boss Erik ten Hag starts Manchester United backroom staff plans with approach for Robin van Persie
According to the Mirror, Ajax boss Erik ten Hag is keen on bringing former Manchester United ace Robin van Persie to his former club as the Dutch manager prepares his backroom staff ahead of a potential move to Old Trafford.
ten Hag is the current favourite to be offered the vacant permanent manager position in the summer to succeed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was sacked late last year after a poor string of results saw the club slip down the Premier League table.
The incumbent Ajax manager is said to have already started informal talks with van Persie, who was part of the title-winning side under Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013. ten Hag believes that the former Red Devils striker’s knowledge of the English side would be invaluable if he ends up taking the permanent manager job.
van Persie, who departed the Old Trafford side in 2015 to Fenerbahce and eventually retired at Feyenoord in 2019, is currently taking his coaching badges and working with the Under-16s team in Feyenoord’s Academy.
van Persie’s tough decision
Although the former Arsenal captain is said to be tempted by the prospect of working in the Premier League again and with his former employers, the dad of two has some tough decisions to make about returning to England.
His son, Shaqueel, has just signed his first contract with Feyenoord and is working alongside his father in the club’s youth set-up. Meanwhile, his daughter Dina is one of Holland’s biggest showjumping talents. It is never easy to uproot your children’s progress and move to another country, and these factors will play into his ultimate decision in joining ten Hag – that is, if the Ajax manager is offered the job and he accepts it.
Although there has been nothing concrete announced about ten Hag’s move to Manchester, the prospect of seeing van Persie in the dugout once again will excite United fans. The striker was brought in from rivals Arsenal to score goals, and he did just that as he led us to the last Premier League title that we won.
If he moves back to England and takes up a job working in ten Hag’s staff at Old Trafford, then he will see familiar faces in David de Gea and Phil Jones, who are still playing at the club. The two United men are the last of the 2013 title-winning squad left at the Theatre of Dreams.
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For a manager that has never worked in England, the Ajax head coach’s interest in bringing van Persie to his squad is certainly a good move, having someone to rely on as he navigates the Premier League as well as life in Manchester. The former Dutch striker is certainly someone who ten Hag can rely on, with the retired player spending a majority of his career in England.
However, there will be doubts about whether van Persie is qualified enough to take up the job. After all, he is still working on his coaching badges, and is yet to be part of the backroom staff at a senior side in a big club. It remains to be seen if these talks hold good in the summer – after all, there is no guarantee that United will offer ten Hag the job, despite him looking like the leading candidate.