Erik ten Hag is now the hot favorite to take over at Old Trafford.
The Ajax manager has reportedly been interviewed by the Red Devils management for a role that will lead Manchester United next season.
The discussions were reported to have taken place on Monday, with Mauricio Pochettino, Julen Lopetegui and Luis Enrique also lining up for interviews.
The infamous introverted Dutchman, 52, loves to lead a modest life away from the game.
He played his football in the Netherlands as a centre-back and later worked in Holland and Germany.
But it was at Ajax that he really made a name for himself, winning two league titles, two Dutch Cups and taking the club to the semi-finals of the Champions League.
1. Played with dance
When ten Hag was a child, he loved to dance as much as he loved to play football.
He attended the Dwars dance school in Haaksbergen where he grew up.
In the end, as a teenager, he chose the beautiful game instead of the foxtrot.
But it came with its own problems.
2. Sick as a dog
Such was ten Hag’s ambition to be a pro, he would literally hit the ground.
His mother once remembered how he came home as a seven year old and vomited because he was very tired.
It turned out that due to the lack of players in other teams, he volunteered to play three matches in a row.
His mother called him “obsessed” and “manic” about football.
3. Become a pro
In 1989, ten Hag made his debut for Twente, with whom he had three spells.
A defender by profession, he also played for De Graafschap, RKC Waalwijk and FC Utrecht.
However, he was never good enough to play international football.
His biggest prize as a player was winning the Dutch Cup with Twente in 2000-2001.
4. Become a manager
In 2012, about 10 years after retiring from the game, ten Hag landed his first management position with the Go Ahead Eagles.
He was hired by ex-Arsenal star Mark Overmars when they were in the second division.
His appointment will last only one season.
5. First success
Well, ten Hag has had great success, leading the club to promotion for the first time in 17 years.
Planned to move to Germany.
6. Bayern Munich
It’s often forgotten that ten Hag developed his tactical mind while coaching Bayern Munich’s reserves from 2013-2015.
Working alongside Pep Guardiola, he is admittedly influenced by the Spanish tactician.
“I learned a lot from Guardiola,” Ten Hag said in 2019.
“His philosophy is sensational, what he has done at Barcelona, Bayern and now at Manchester City, this attacking and attractive style allows him to win a lot.
“That’s the structure I was trying to implement with Ajax.”
7. Return home
In 2015, a year before Guardiola joined Manchester City, ten Haag received his first high-profile position in the Dutch top flight.
At Utrecht, he put into practice what he learned in Germany and achieved instant success in two seasons.
In his first year, he managed to take fifth place. But in his second, they qualified for the Europa League.
Then Ajax called.
8. Higher work
Marc Overmars, who was now Ajax’s sporting director, was instrumental in appointing him as his boss in 2017.
An inspirational choice, he won two championships and two cups with the club without losing Ajax’s value of attacking and progressive football.
They also made an impression in the Champions League by reaching the 10 Hag semi-finals in 2019 and famously knocked out Real Madrid along the way with a 4-1 win at the Bernabéu.
9. Cruyff’s obsession
Considered a student of Dutch master Johan Cruyff, ten Hag favors the 4-3-3 formation that the Barcelona legend used at the Camp Nou.
Owning football is also the key to his success.
Former player Marnix Calder spoke about what it’s like to be coached by ten Hag.
“There was an idea behind every workout,” he said. Independent.
“He makes every player better. Tactical, physical. Eric left nothing to chance. He was ready for every opponent, down to the smallest detail.”
10. Family man
Away from the game, ten Hag is married to wife Bianca, who was his childhood sweetheart.
They have three children but live a quiet life away from the glitz and glamor of their world.
Instead of shopping in glitzy fashion boutiques, they boast a more open approach to life.
Family cycling, golf and forest walks are where ten Hag finds peace.