MANCHESTER UNITED have officially confirmed Erik ten Hag as their next permanent manager on a three-year deal, with the option for a further 12 months.
The Ajax gaffer, 52, will replace interim boss Ralf Rangick in the summer after verbally agreeing to take charge last week.
Ten Hag impressed Old Trafford chiefs during his interview process, beating the likes of Mauricio Pochettino, Zinedine Zidane and Brendan Rodgers to the job.
Proven winner Ten Hag edged out the competition after laying out his long-term vision to build a successful team, while playing attractive and attacking football.
And he didn't shirk at the mammoth challenge that lays in front of him at Manchester United.
But Ten Hag wanted to hold fire on signing the contract until the Dutch Cup final on Sunday – which his team lost to PSV Eindhoven.
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Erik ten Hag ANNOUNCED as Man Utd manager, Dutchman signs three-year deal
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In the past couple of days, United agreed compensation – believed to be in the region of £2.5 million – with Ajax to take Ten Hag and his assistant Mitchell van der Gaag.
Upon the announcement, Ten Hag said: "It is a great honour to be appointed manager of Manchester United and I am hugely excited by the challenge ahead.
"I know the history of this great club and the passion of the fans, and I am absolutely determined to develop a team capable of delivering the success they deserve.
"It will be difficult to leave Ajax after these incredible years, and I can assure our fans of my complete commitment and focus on bringing this season to a successful conclusion before I move to Manchester United."
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Ten Hag was keen to get several assurances from the hierarchy before he took the job in order to give himself the best possible chance of turning the club around.
There was some interest from RB Leipzig – but once he knew he would get the support he needed there was no doubt in his mind he wanted the United job.
Red Devils chiefs are desperate to finally find a successful replacement to Sir Alex Ferguson, with the announcement coming just two days after being humiliated 4-0 by rivals Liverpool.
Ten Hag's impressive Champions League record with Ajax and domestic record with the club proved he was ready to take on the job.
United football director John Murtough said: "During the past four years at Ajax, Erik has proved himself to be one of the most exciting and successful coaches in Europe, renowned for his team’s attractive, attacking football and commitment to youth.
"In our conversations with Erik leading up to this appointment, we were deeply impressed with his long-term vision for returning Manchester United to the level we want to be competing at, and his drive and determination to achieve that.
"We wish Erik the best of luck as he focuses on achieving a successful end to the season at Ajax and look forward to welcoming him to Manchester United this summer."
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United haven't won the Premier League title since Fergie's final season in 2012-13.
The club have burned through David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, before turning to Rangnick to steady the ship until the end of this season.
But Manchester United are currently on their longest trophy drought since they were last relegated nearly 50 years ago.
And after an extensive hunt, the Old Trafford hierarchy have named Ten Hag as the man to lead the club forward.
Ajax had fought tooth and nail to keep Ten Hag at the Eredivisie leaders, with the gaffer still firmly focused on seeing out the season with the Dutch outfit.
He said: "I'm happy that it has been finalized and that it has been officially announced. That clarity is important.
"But I only have one interest now and that's these last five games. I want to finish my time here on a positive note, by winning the league.
"By doing so, we'll qualify directly for the Champions League. Ajax belongs there."
Ajax chief executive and United hero Edwin van der Saar said: "Four and a half years is a good amount of time, but we would have liked to have kept Erik at Ajax for longer.
"He is going to make the step to one of the biggest clubs in the world, in a fantastic league."
"We owe Erik a lot of thanks for what he has achieved with Ajax so far, but we are not done yet. At the end of the season, I will look back more extensively on his departure.
"For now, what matters is the final games of the season in which we all want to bring home the league title."
Ten Hag started his managerial career in 2012, taking over at Dutch minnows Go Ahead Eagles.
The former centre-back spent two years at Bayern Munich II, before enjoying another two seasons back in Holland, with Utrecht.
Ten Hag took over at Ajax in 2017 and has helped them win TWO Eredivisie titles – in 2018-19 and 2020-21 – with a third looking almost certain this season.
The boss famously led Ajax to the 2018-19 Champions League semi-final only to be stunned after a late Tottenham comeback – denying them a date with Liverpool in the final.
Ten Hag has also won two KNVB Cup crowns and the Johan Cruyff Shield during his time in Amsterdam.
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