Erik Ten Hag has decided to keep his cards close to his chest when asked how close he came to becoming Tottenham’s head coach.
Ten Hag was one of several names linked with the Spurs hot seat in the summer of 2021 when the North Londoners were scouring for someone to replace Jose Mourinho (Evening Standard).
Fabrizio Romano claimed at the time that the Ajax boss had a meeting arranged with Tottenham and was open to leaving the Eredivisie giants.
Dutch journalist Valentijn Driessen told Voetbal Zone that Spurs eventually decided not to appoint the 52-year-old as they were puzzled by the fact he had no plans to bring any of his current backroom staff with him to the Premier League club.
The Daily Mail claimed that the language barrier was the biggest issue that put Spurs off the Dutchman.
Tottenham eventually appointed Nuno Espirito Santo but the Portuguese coach only lasted four months at the helm before making way for Antonio Conte.
Ahead of his side’s showdown with Spurs at Old Trafford, Ten Hag was asked how close he came to taking over at N17, and he responded (via Man Utd’s official website): “I will never talk about interest or what else, it’s also not interesting. I’m here and I’m happy to be here and I want to get the best out of here.”
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With hindsight, Tottenham’s decision to pass up on Ten Hag worked in the North London club’s favour, with Conte coming through the door not too long after.
I do wonder if one of the reasons Paratici decided to appoint Nuno was because he was aware in the back of his mind that Conte might change his mind and decide to take up the Spurs job.
The contract that Tottenham offered to the former Wolves boss was certainly not indicative of a long-term commitment.