Five players new Man United boss Erik ten Hag transformed at Ajax

Man United fans are already very excited for the arrival of Erik ten Hag. However, his proven track record of developing players into world beaters will certainly send supporters’ anticipation into overdrive.

The current Ajax boss will join United at the end of the season. In a statement on their website, the Old Trafford club confirmed that ten Hag signed a three-year deal, with the option to extend it until 2026. Sadly, Man United getting Erik ten Hag as manager is one of the very few bright spots in a horrid season.

United will likely miss out on Champions League football for next season, as they have lost significant ground on Arsenal and Tottenham for fourth place. Furthermore, the club have no cup finals to look forward to either. In short, ten Hag has his work cut out to try and turn around a club on the decline.

If his past success is anything to go by, he’s certainly the man for the job. Here are five players that Erik ten Hag transformed at Ajax:

Dusan Tadic

Signed from Southampton in 2018, Dusan Tadic has flourished under ten Hag’s management. The Serbian, who is Ajax’s captain, is instrumental to his side.

In 191 games for the Amsterdam club, Tadic has scored 92 goals and provided 89 assists. He also won the Eredivisie Golden Boot in 2018/2019, with 28 goals. Considering his best scoring season at Southampton tallied seven league goals, this is some turnaround.

Tadic’s impressive performances earned him the 2020/2021 Eredivisie Player of the Season award – underlining the quality of his play under Erik ten Hag.

Sebastien Haller

Sebastien Haller showed promise at Frankfurt. However, he struggled to find goals at West Ham.

Following his January 2021 transfer to Ajax, the Ivorian has transformed into a phenomenal poacher. Haller’s great goalscoring ability was demonstrated this season on the biggest stage of all – the Champions League.

The former West Ham striker scored in all six group stage games, becoming only the second-ever player to do so. In addition, he broke the record for the fewest games to reach 11 Champions League goals. It took Haller just seven games.

Domestically, Haller looks set to win his first Golden Boot this season, as he leads the Eredivisie scoring charts with 20 goals.

Frenkie de Jong

Now at Barcelona, de Jong rose to prominence under the guidance of Erik ten Hag in the Dutch capital. His calmness on the ball and elite technical ability are all trademarks of the Ajax academy and the club’s style of play. De Jong earned many admirers in Europe’s top clubs from a young age as a result.

The midfielder was a vital cog of the Ajax side that made an incredible run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2018/19.

A passing master, he controlled the team tempo, helping them overcome Juventus and Real Madrid in the knockout stages. De Jong’s incredible play earned him the 2018/19 Champions League Midfielder of the Season award.

Antony

One of Brazil’s brightest talents, Antony has been a revelation this past season. Signed from Sao Paulo in 2020, the young winger is a typical signing of ten Hag. He is young, technically gifted and willing to learn and be nurtured into the manager’s style of play.

Similarly to Sebastian Haller, Antony has impressed in Europe this season. He tallied two goals and four assists from the wing in Ajax’s seven matches. In addition, his clear potential has put him on the radar of some of Europe’s biggest clubs and earned him a call up for Brazil.

Antony looks set to be yet another Erik ten Hag success story. According to Dutch football expert Marcel van der Kraan, he may even follow his manager to Man United.

Hakim Ziyech

Now at Chelsea, Hakim Ziyech is another player who stood out in Ajax’s 2018/2019 Champions League semi-final side. Under ten Hag, the Moroccan international developed into a significant attacking threat.

In the Dutchman’s first full season as manager, Ziyech put up video game-like numbers. He had 16 goals and 17 assists in just 29 league appearances – all in fewer minutes than he had played the season before.

Since moving to the Premier League, Ziyech has had some injury issues. In addition, he has found it hard to become a regular in the Chelsea team. At Ajax, however, he was great fun to watch.

Man United fans will hope that Erik ten Hag can work some magic with the current squad and bring in and develop some new additions, so they can start challenging for honours once again.

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