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Man United felt step up was too big for one manager target, despite ‘convincing’ interview

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You know how it goes. Whenever there is a change of ownership at a football club, a change in the dugout tends to follow. So when Ineos took control at Manchester United in February, speculation that Erik ten Hag was a dead-man walking was the inevitable result.

The interest in numerous other managers certainly didn’t make Ten Hag’s position look any more secure.

Manchester United reportedly interviewed the likes of Thomas Tuchel and Roberto de Zerbi before deciding that neither was quite the right fit. For Tuchel, his CV speaks for itself but the prickly German is not exactly a man renowned for bringing a harmoneous approach behind the scenes.

The feeling at Ineos – as emphasised by their admiration for England boss Gareth Southgate – is that United would benefit from a manager capable of bringing together the dressing room and getting everything pulling in the same direction.

The Athletic reports that Fulham boss Marco Silva held face-to-face talks with the United bosses too. There was interest, at various stages, in Belgium coach Roberto Martinez, Thiago Motta and Michel too.

Thomas Frank during the Premier League match between Brentford FC and Fulham FC at Brentford Community Stadium on May 04, 2024 in Brentford, Englan...

Photo by Richard Pelham/Getty Images

Thomas Frank impressed in Manchester United talks

According to The Independent’s Miguel Delaney, however, one of the more ‘convincing’ interviews was conducted not by Tuchel or De Zerbi.

Thomas Frank was probably few people’s dream Ten Hag replacement – or anyone’s for that matter – but it is reported that the Dane really impressed during his own discussions with the Old Trafford hierarchy. He might have been under serious consideration for the top job, too, if not for the feeling that the jump from Brentford to Manchester United would have been a pretty ‘huge’ one.

Hypothetically speaking, if Frank was to take over at, say, a West Ham, a Tottenham or another club of a similar size and emulate the success he has enjoyed at Brentford, perhaps the Dane would find himself at the top of Ineos’ wishlist at some point later down the line.

  • READ MORE: Every manager linked with replacing Erik ten Hag at Manchester United

Erik ten Hag gets Ineos’ backing

For now, however, Man United job may have come around just a little too early, even if Frank’s team did gave Ten Hag’s side the runaround during both meetings last season.

Man United needed a dramatic late brace from Scott McTominay to beat Brentford at home before Christmas. Brentford took some measure of revenge a few months later, however, after cancelling out Mason Mount‘s first and as-yet only United goal with a stoppage time strike of their own.

Frank does not appear to be in any rush to call time on his stay in West London. Then again, he wouldn’t have conducted an intereview with the Red Devils if was not at least interested in broadening his horizons a little.

“I am really happy where I am,” Frank told Bold, having taken Brentford to the top-flight before then establishing them there during his six years in the hotseat.

“It is close to being the perfect club to be in. I can see myself being here for many more years.

“I am close to the owner, to the sports director. (I have a good relationship with) everyone around the club,” adds the 50-year-old Dane, who delivered a 4-0 thrashing of United on Ten Hag’s second game in the dugout back in 2022.

“Brentford is a club where I really feel at home. “Immediately, I think (the links with Man United are) flattering and a recognition in relation to what I do. And I am glad that others are noticing the work we are doing in Brentford.

“Having said that, what goes on in Brentford is not a one-man show.”

  • READ MORE: Manchester United manager history, trophies won, win percentage

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