Erik ten Hag has been heavily connected with Manchester United in recent months, with speculation ramping up this week when sources claimed the club had had an interview with the Dutchman. However, talkSPORT analyst and former Premier League player Darren Bent has suggested Roberto Mancini as a potential manager who he believes is superior to Ajax’s manager.
United have been without a permanent manager since November when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was fired following a string of bad results. Ralf Rangnick was brought in to replace him, however, his contract expires in the summer because he was only hired on an interim basis.
Following his stints as a director at RB Leipzig and Lokomotiv Moscow, the German will join the technical staff. And bookmakers and analysts alike have tipped Ten Hag as the frontrunner to replace Rangnick.
Bent, on the other hand, feels the club should pursue Italy boss Mancini, who won the Premier League with arch-rivals Manchester City in 2012 since he “knows the league.” “He’s a winner,” said Bent to talkSPORT.
“He’s won the Premier League, so he’s got the experience, and he’s won the Euros, even if I know it didn’t finish well with the North Macedonia outcome. But if United is willing to pay a ransom, why not? Manchester United is the most powerful club in the world. I get that winning Manchester City’s first Premier League title and then moving to United would be a big deal, but we’ve seen managers [transfer to rivals] before.
“There are no jobs for him in these circumstances, but Manchester United is there and they just say, ‘You know what, what do you think?’ I believe he is better than [Erik] ten Hag and, without a doubt, Mauricio Pochettino.
“He has proven he can do it in this country, which I believe is critical. He has Premier League experience – I know he left – but he then won a huge trophy with Italy in the Euros, so you can’t dispute his pedigree for winning things.”
Mancini, 57, took over as manager of Manchester City in 2009, during the club’s flood of wealth following the Abu Dhabi takeover a year earlier. City won their first Premier League title in 44 years thanks to his additions of Yaya Toure, David Silva, Edin Dzeko, and Sergio Aguero.
However, just a year after winning the league, he was fired after finishing second and failing to win a single Champions League group match. Meanwhile, United is presently sixth in the Premier League.