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Ten Hag future, Smith Rowe Arsenal talks and more

Written by on May 26, 2024

This article was originally published on Fabrizio Romano’s Daily Briefing, a subscription service. If you would like to receive Fabrizio Romano’s exclusive transfer news via email ahead of publication on caughtoffside.com, please sign-up for the service here: thedailybriefing.io

Congratulations to Manchester United as they won the FA Cup final against rivals Manchester City. I was there at Wembley for this very special moment especially for the young goal-scorers Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo, but also for many other players who showed great leadership and made it a perfect afternoon for Man United at Wembley.

I thought it was an excellent performance by Man United, it was not easy at all but they were perfect on the day and I think deserved to lift the trophy. Man City were just not on their best day, probably tired after such a big effort to win the Premier League title.

But it’s also an important moment for Erik ten Hag, who has won another trophy with United after also picking up the Carabao Cup last season, while the result also brings the Red Devils into the Europa League for next season. Still, it comes amid uncertainty around Ten Hag’s future, so what’s the situation?

Firstly, Ten Hag was not happy with some of the media reports that he was already 100% out of Manchester United before even playing this game. He doesn’t understand how it’s possible to see rumours like this coming out before a cup final, it’s not respectful to his job.

But also the reality is that United never communicated anything to Ten Hag – they never informed him of any decision to sack him, there hasn’t been any formal process yet. Behind the scenes at United, there have been some meetings with representatives of some managers who wanted to understand what is the situation with Ten Hag, so although United have started some of the process to find a new coach, they never decided what to do with Ten Hag.

It remains an open situation and let’s see what happens after this special afternoon at Wembley, but at the same time I can confirm that United had conversations with representatives of managers to explore a potential new era without Ten Hag at the club.

Erik ten Hag with the FA Cup trophy

Ten Hag was not happy about the media speculation, and he spoke before the game about INEOS telling him that they want to build with him. But at the same time, the Dutch manager also admitted he’s open to any decision from the club – he even said that if they don’t want him, he will go and win trophies elsewhere just as he’s done everywhere he’s managed, so a strong message from Ten Hag. The situation is not what he wants in the media, he wants more support and feels he doesn’t deserve this kind of coverage, also because of the injury situation he’s had this season.

So, the situation is quite tense and now it’s on Man United to decide, with Sir Jim Ratcliffe absolutely involved in the review process. He will be part of the conversation with people at the club on the future of Ten Hag and on potential new managers. There are many things to discuss so let’s see what happens in the next days on the manager situation at Old Trafford.

Bayern Munich finally have their new manager after trying for Xabi Alonso, Ralf Rangnick, Julian Nagelsmann and having other conversations around Europe – we can finally say Vincent Kompany will be the new Bayern manager, it’s a ‘here we go’.

Bayern will pay €12m compensation to Burnley for Kompany, and the Belgian tactician is set to sign a three-year contract. Bayern director Max Eberl is convinced that Kompany can become a very special manager, and this also comes as Pep Guardiola said he’s convinced that his former player will become Manchester City manager one day – a big statement by Guardiola, and a big moment for Bayern as they finally have their new coach.

Bayern spent this week in talks with Kompany and it’s also all going to be agreed between the clubs, with the €12m fee decided after three days of negotiation. Kompany is considered a talented coach with great potential. He speaks English, German, and they believe he’s a future top coach. Kompany was especially wanted by Eberl who’s convinced he can be a big surprise.

Antonio Conte is a strong and serious candidate to be the new Napoli manager. We’ve had rumours about this for months but now the conversations are really concrete and reaching crucial stages – remember that it was never true that Conte offered himself to Chelsea or other clubs despite stories in recent weeks. Conte isn’t someone who has to offer himself to anyone – he’s one of the best coaches in the world, he was just waiting for the right opportunity.

Now, Conte views Napoli as a good opportunity – he’s super excited about the club and the team, while he could also earn an important salary there, but not a crazy one. So, Conte is super keen on Napoli and it looks like a good fit to see a passionate manager like him at this kind of club, I’d be excited to see it, so let’s see what happens now.

Conte is keen on the job, so now it’s on Napoli and their president Aurelio de Laurentiis. Let’s keep an eye on this one in the next hours and days because it looks like a big story to watch and it would be a big achievement for Napoli to get a world class coach like Conte.

We should soon know what will be happening with Roberto de Zerbi, who is available on the managers market after leaving Brighton. Still, it’s important to say that there is a new release clause there that was part of his agreement to leave Brighton.

The original release clause was about €15m, but then the new clause in place as part of his agreement to leave Brighton is there and is less than €10m.

Let’s see what happens with the managers domino this summer, but for sure De Zerbi is one of the big names available. We know Chelsea are looking for a new manager, with candidates like Kieran McKenna and Enzo Maresca, and also Thomas Frank, while we also need to keep an eye on the situation at Manchester United because if they change manager we need to see what kind of coach they want. Thomas Tuchel is super keen on the job but who is the man they really want? It could be someone experienced like Tuchel or maybe a young manager, they still need to decide as they review the situation and decide on Ten Hag.

Still, De Zerbi has a cheap clause and so he could be one to watch in the next days and weeks. For sure, busy days and hours are coming.

Emile Smith Rowe – I’m aware of talk of a meeting being scheduled between Emile Smith Rowe and Arsenal, but my understanding is that nothing has been decided on this yet. I think it’s an open situation based on proposals, but at the moment I’m still hearing it’s a quiet situation. Let’s see in the next weeks if clubs join the race.

Joshua Kimmich – With Hansi Flick appointed Barcelona manager we’re seeing Bayern Munich star Joshua Kimmich linked with Barca. However, Deco and Flick haven’t discussed targets yet. It will be in the next weeks. Kimmich for sure is appreciated by Flick, he knows him well, but before discussing targets Barca need to fully understand about their Financial Fair Play situation for this summer.

Teun Koopmeiners – We’re seeing more links with Liverpool, but I’m still told he’s a priority target for Juventus this summer. Juve are working on it. Let’s see what happens at Liverpool but my information is that there is nothing concrete so far, we will see as soon as Arne Slot meets with the club’s new directors.

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