Manchester United have a £15m problem with Erik ten Hag sacking after dreadful West Ham defeat

Manchester United have a £15m problem with Erik ten Hag sacking after dreadful West Ham defeat

WATCH NOW: Erik ten Hag demands response from Manchester United

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 24/12/2023

- 11:16

The Red Devils' dire season continued with a 2-0 defeat at the London Stadium on Saturday night

Erik ten Hag seems to be a dead man walking at Manchester United.

The Dutchman had been expected to challenge the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City for the Premier League title last term after a positive first season in the dugout at Old Trafford.

However, with the Premier League campaign nearly halfway done, Ten Hag is steering a sinking ship.

United have been poor all season. They haven't looked remotely like the team that finished third last term, while also winning the Carabao Cup.

Manchester United Erik ten Hag West Ham

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag seems to be a dead man walking after West Ham defeat


They faced West Ham on Saturday hoping to build on a goalless draw against Liverpool last time out.

But United were flat and insipid as they slumped to defeat, with Jarrod Bowen and Mohammed Kudus finding the net for the Hammers on a straightforward day at the office.

They have now gone four matches without scoring, with Rasmus Hojlund looking increasingly subdued at the tip of their attack.

And the walls seem to be closing in on Ten Hag as he prepares to spend Christmas Day with his family.

This is as bad as it's been at the club ever since Sir Alex Ferguson strolled off into the sunset a decade ago.

David Moyes struggled but Ten Hag would do well to emulate the Scot by helping United finish in the top seven.

Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho's teams played bad football but still got results that look significantly greater than the current set.

And while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have been tactically naive at times, he's a man getting more and more credit with each passing week.

The problem for United is, however, that sacking Ten Hag wouldn't be cheap.

They have already shelled out millions on new bosses over the past decade, with Mourinho famously earning close to £20million after his departure back in 2018.

And a recent report said United would have to pay a huge £15m to relieve Ten Hag of his duties.

The problem for the club is, however, that they're already toeing the line when it comes to Financial Fair Play rules.

That's why United are unlikely to make any major additions to their squad in January, despite the worsening results.

And that's also why Ten Hag's job seems to be safe for the time being.

While that's the case, however, the imminent arrival of Sir Jim Ratcliffe could see the situation change.


Manchester United West Ham

Manchester United were poor as West Ham won 2-0 at the London Stadium on Saturday afternoon


Ratcliffe is primed to take sporting control at United once his deal for a 25 per cent stake in the club goes through.

Reports have suggested Graham Potter is admired by the British billionaire, despite his dire stint at Chelsea last term.

And United may just be holding fire until Ratcliffe, and his money, comes in.

Ten Hag, for his part, isn't throwing the towel in just yet.

The Dutchman insists United can transform their season, despite an improvement looking increasingly unlikely.

Manchester United Erik ten Hag

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is fighting to save his job after a catastrophic 2-0 defeat to West Ham


“They are capable [of turning things around],” the 53-year-old said after his side suffered a 13th defeat of the campaign.

“I know [Marcus] Rashford can score a goal, [Rasmus] Hojlund can score a goal, Antony can score a goal, [Alejandro] Garnacho can score a goal, Bruno [Fernandes] can score a goal, Scott McTominay can score a goal.

“We have the scoring abilities in our squad, and also from set plays, but in this moment we are not doing that.

"They have to stick together and also believe in themselves that they can do it.”

When asked if he was worried about Hojlund, who is yet to score in the Premier League, Ten Hag continued to be defiant.

“No. He is a very strong character and he can deal with the stress," revealed the 53-year-old. "He was ill during the week so he had a little lack of power, so in that sense, I protected him [by taking him off]."

You may like