Recent discussions within Manchester United’s hierarchy, under the new ownership of Sir Jim Ratcliffe, suggest that Erik ten Hag’s position as manager may not be entirely secure. Sources close to the club have revealed to CaughtOffside that exploratory talks have taken place with two prominent managers, Julen Lopetegui and Antonio Conte, regarding their potential candidacy in case of a managerial change at the end of the season.
While there isn’t an immediate inclination to part ways with Ten Hag, concerns have arisen due to the team’s inconsistent form this season. It’s speculated that unless there’s a notable improvement in performance during the latter half of the campaign, the Dutch tactician’s tenure at Old Trafford could be in jeopardy.
Lopetegui was recently approached but declined an offer to manage Al Ittihad, indicating his interest in a potential opening at United. The Spanish coach, previously associated with Wolves, has expressed a desire to return to managing in the Premier League, with Nottingham Forest also catching his attention at one point.
On the other hand, Conte’s situation appears more complex as his preference leans towards remaining in Italy for family reasons. However, he hasn’t ruled out a return to the Premier League entirely, though there’s no agreement in place with AC Milan despite certain reports suggesting otherwise.
Although advanced discussions have not commenced with either manager, this situation warrants close monitoring in the coming weeks and months, particularly if there’s no significant improvement in the team’s performance and results.
Conte’s track record of delivering trophies could be enticing for United, given their struggles since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, while Lopetegui, though not as decorated, is highly regarded within the football community and could be a viable candidate for a job of this caliber.