Ten Hag sack: Report claims Man Utd will 'offer' job to former Prem boss as move for rivals' coach is branded 'impossible'

Julen Lopetegui and Unai Emery have been linked with replacing Erik ten Hag as Manchester United manager

Former Wolves and Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui is standing by to replace Erik ten Hag at Manchester United and would be keen to take the job if offered to him, according to stunning reports emerging in Spain.

The Dutchman remains a man under serious pressure at Old Trafford despite a gusty 1-0 win at Fulham on Saturday closing the gap on the top four to six points. That result was very much needed given Manchester United had gone into the game at Craven Cottage with eight defeats from their opening 15 matches, making it their worst start to a season since 1962/63.

As a result, knives have been sharpening for Ten Hag with a strong report last week suggesting the club's new investor Sir Jim Ratcliffe has decided to call time on Ten Hag's reign and was keen to appoint a rival Premier League boss as his successor.

Publicly, United are saying nothing about the Dutchman's future, but successive 3-0 home defeats to Manchester City and Newcastle certainly cranked up the pressure to new levels.

And it all means he went into a run of three games in a week probably needing nothing less than three straight wins to keep the wolves at the door and spare him from growing speculation he soon faces the sack.

Thankfully for Ten Hag, the first of those games saw United claim a late, yet deserved 1-0 win over Fulham on Saturday lunchtime. Next up they face a must-win Champions League clash against FC Copenhagen in Denmark before taking on struggling Luton Town - who gave Liverpool quite the shock on Sunday - at Old Trafford.

Julen Lopetegui waiting for Man Utd job call amid Ten Hag sack claims

And while three wins can go some way to easing the pressure, it is the least the club will expect given the £400m-plus Ten Hag has been allowed to invest in the squad during his time in charge.

Either way, speculation over Ten Hag's future remains and the Dutchman is still among the favourites to become the next Premier League manager to lose his job.

Of the possible options to replace him at Old Trafford, it's reported that both Roberto De Zerbi and Zinedine Zidane would both be among the contenders to step into the hotseat.

However, according to Spanish newspaper AS, United are also considering a move for Lopetegui, with the former Spain, Real Madrid and Wolves boss 'waiting for United's call' if the axe does indeed fall on Ten Hag.

The 57-year-old remains one of the most respected names in the game, after proving his ability by steering Wolves to Premier League safety with ease last season, having taken over the reins from Bruno Lage.

Lopetegui, however, was to leave Wolves just ahead of the new season after clashing with the club's owners over transfer funds.

And AS believes the experienced coach is 'viewed favourably' by United chiefs as they consider a successor to Ten Hag, with the Dutchman's job described as 'hanging by a thread'.

The Spanish paper claims Lopetegui, who has also managed Porto and Sevilla during a distinguished career, would be the cheapest option currently under consideration with Zidane and Unai Emery also emerging as one of three options.

'Impossible' that Unai Emery quits Aston Villa for Man Utd

However, pundit Gabriel Agbonlahor has explained why it is just not feasible that United could persuade Emery to ditch his role at Aston Villa and move to Old Trafford.

Explaining why Emery, who has been at Villa Park just over a year, has a big job to do at the Villains, Agbonlahor has branded any approach from United as futile.

"Impossible," Agbonlahor said via talkSPORT when asked if United could lure him away. "Unai Emery is at a massive club in Aston Villa - big, big club.

"Owners, they stay out of the way, you don't hear about Aston Villa's owners, he gets on with the owners. The players all like playing for him.

"Eleven home games unbeaten in the Premier League, that's a record and everything about Aston Villa at the moment, the football they're playing in Europe as well, they're doing well.

"In the league, they're [five] points off the top, fifth position with 22 points and it's a happy club, why would you leave that for the carnage that's going on at Manchester United."

Agbonlahor makes a very fair point. While United is the bigger job, the Villa hotseat is also huge and they appear a club very much going places under his leadership.

And at this stage, you would have to say it's far more realistic that Villa makes the Champions League next season than Man Utd do.


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