Tottenham Hotspur’s quest for a new manager to replace Jose Mourinho took another big blow today as Ajax boss, Erik Ten Hag put pen to paper on a new two-year deal with his current one set to expire this June. The Dutchman who has been in charge of Ajax since 2017 and even faced Spurs in the memorable semi-finals of the 2018-19 Champions League is another name that Daniel Levy and co. has missed out on.
His home? Amsterdam… ❌❌❌
+1 for Erik ten Hag ➥ 2023
— AFC Ajax (@AFCAjax) April 30, 2021
Given the recent news that Spurs were heavily angling for him, where does this leave the team in their pursuit of a new manager?
WHY DID SPURS WANT TEN HAG?
Before joining Ajax, ten Hag had worked with Bayern Munich II from 2013-2015, when Pep Guardiola was head coach of the senior team. He also had a two-year spell with FC Utrecht, leading them to a Europa League qualification playoff in his second season.
2 – Erik ten Hag has lost only two of his 22 European games as a manager (W11 D9). Mastermind. pic.twitter.com/JJ5FoUhOLe
— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) April 17, 2019
He has long been praised for his attacking-style, quick-passing game which utilises the pace of his players to the fullest extent. He sets out very specific plans depending on the opponents’ that they face, with tactics being set up well in advance. He has been using the 4-3-3 mostly, but has often changed it to 4-2-3-1.
In addition, ten Hag’s team has always given ample opportunities to young and upcoming players to flourish. Van de Beek, Frenkie De Jong, Hakim Ziyech are some of names who featured regularly for the Dutch giants before moving on in big money moves.
For the current team, youngsters such as David Neres, Ryan Gravenberch, Lisandro Martinez, Antony have been leading the club’s title charge with Ajax holding a 12-point lead over second-placed PSV with four games to play.
Nationality: Brazil U23
Ajax's big summer signing, Antony has already thrilled fans during pre-season and is set to take the Eredivisie by storm. Quick, tricky and can score goals. He could be a superstar in Ten Hag's side. pic.twitter.com/JiQEjC27IW
— Dutch Football 🇳🇱 (@FootballOranje_) September 12, 2020
After the defensive gaffes and leaky nature of the Spurs defence under Mourinho, it is no surprise then that Levy had identified Ten Hag as a potential match for the club to lead into a new beginning.
WHAT HAVE BEEN HIS ACHIEVEMENTS?
ten Hag won the league and KNVB cup double in 2018-19 as Ajax also reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, defeating Real Madrid and Juventus along the way. After the pandemic-cancelled 2020 season, this year Ajax have already won the KNVB Cup as they gun for their 35th league title as well.
Congratulations to Ajax, for winning the Eredivisie title.
They've become the first Dutch side to win the domestic double since 2005. 🏆🏆
What a team. 🙌🇳🇱 pic.twitter.com/rpeyNWGyYF
— Football Tweet ⚽ (@Football__Tweet) May 15, 2019
He is also a two-time winner of the ‘Rinus Michels Award,’ given to the best manager in the league. His first came as manager of Utrecht in 2015-16 while the second one was for the double winning campaign as well as finishing fourth in the FIFA Best Manager category.
With the debacle of the Super League still fresh in everyone’s mind, and UEFA confirming that the clubs involved are set to face punishment, the last two weeks have been really dismal at the club. Now, having seen another candidate – Julian Nagelsman, join Bayern two days ago and Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers stating that he has not thought much about the vacancy at Spurs, Spurs’ and the board are running out of time to confirm a manager worthy of their expectations.
This might also come as good news for Ryan Mason in his hopes of keeping the job for more than these few weeks that remain. Whatever happens, it is clear that the mood around the club got considerably more frustrated after today’s news.