Manchester United managerial target Erik ten Hag has spoken out against Ajax Amsterdam’s transfer policy.
His comments come as the links to the Manchester United job have increased in the media of late. The 52-year-old is one of a number of people linked to the Old Trafford role including Paris Saint-Germain’s Mauricio Pochettino, Inter Milan’s Simone Inzaghi, as well as current interim manager, Ralf Rangnick.
In a recent interview, ten Hag has revealed his frustrations with Ajax’s transfer policy which sees them sell their best talent every season to other clubs.
The Sons of the Gods are set to lose more talents in the summer with Andre Onana, Nicolas Tagliafico, Noussair Mazraoui and a few others on the way out.
The former FC Utrecht manager has been at the Johan Cruijff Arena since 2017, and in that time, has lost a number of talents due to the transfer policy of the club.
Asides winning a few Eredivisie titles on the way, his biggest achievement was upsetting all of Europe to reach the 2019 UEFA Champions League semi-finals with some of the most talented young players the world has seen in recent years.
The following season saw a mass exodus of that pool of talent to clubs like Juventus and Barcelona. ten Hag has finally come out to speak against that policy which sees him lose key talents and have to start again from scratch every new season.
He said: “The lifespan of our team has always been short in recent years.
“I understood – and still understand – the sale of players. But you can hardly cope with such bloodletting if you want to continue to play a significant role in the Champions League.
“You need giant players for that – and Ajax can not buy that calibre of players.”
ten Hag also shared his views on the usefulness of sporting directors to a team which is sure to intrigue Manchester United, who are hoping to secure the Dutchman’s services at the end of the season.
Current Red Devils interim manager Rangnick is set for a two-year role as a consultant sporting director after his interim tenure is up at the end of the season.
ten Hag says he is a fan of having sporting directors, however, he would prefer that they be in the dugout with him.
“I love the German model. In Germany, it is a common thing that sporting directors sit right next to you on the bench there,” ten Hag said.
“If you have a good sporting director, you know he takes a lot of the noise away around the manager – both internally and to the outside world.
“He will back you up and will also take away all the hassle with football agents. That way I can fully concentrate on the team and the development of the players.
“I can only see the advantages of a sporting director close to you on the bench. I want a sporting director who can be honest and straight.
“If something is not right, you know quickly and can be told to your face because you work with each other every day.”