Tottenham’s first choice to replace Jose Mourinho – sorry, Ryan, you’re not getting the gig full-time – was RB Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann, but that’s off the table – Nagelsmann has agreed to become Bayern Munich’s head coach next season, and which sane manager out there wouldn’t choose Bayern over Spurs.
Daniel Levy has since turned his gaze towards Ajax, and their head coach Erik ten Hag. According to a story in the Guardian, Ten Hag is happy in Amsterdam but also could be tempted by a move to the Premier League. Suitably vague?
Ten Hag, a former centre-back who enjoyed a modest playing career in the Netherlands, has been at Ajax since the end of 2017 and won the Eredivisie in 2018/19 (the league was abandoned in 2019/20 due to the coronavirus pandemic); Ajax are set to win it this season too, possibly this Sunday, as they currently sit 12 points ahead of second-placed PSV Eindhoven. The lack of competition must feel a bit stale to him by now.
The Sun did a proper tabloid job on Ten Hag this week, referring to him as a “keen golfer with a high-pitched voice”, as if one related to the other in any way. He also “famously lives above a supermarket in Amsterdam”. Shades of Christian Gross and his Tube ticket.
I’d warmly welcome Erik to north London. He plays attractive football, he’s good at bringing through young players, and he’s neither Jose Mourinho (toxic bully) nor Ryan Mason (well-meaning sixth-former). And just look at the lovely shape of his bald head.