By Simon Peach, PA Chief Football Writer
Manchester United have spoken to Ajax boss Erik ten Hag as the Old Trafford club step up their search for a permanent manager, the PA news agency understands.
Ralf Rangnick was handed the reins on an interim basis in November following the sacking of 1999 treble hero Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after nearly three years in charge.
United want to appoint his permanent successor before the summer and plan to speak to a number of candidates, with Ten Hag understood to have met with the Premier League club as part of that process.
The 52-year-old Dutchman has been at the helm at the Johan Cruyff Arena since 2017 following stints coaching Go Ahead Eagles, Bayern Munich II and Utrecht.
Ajax currently sit top of the Eredivisie standings as Ten Hag looks to win the league title for a third time during a reign that included a remarkable run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2019.
The Amsterdam giants were eventually knocked out by a Tottenham side coached by Mauricio Pochettino, who has long been admired by United.
The Argentinian is currently managing Ligue 1 leaders Paris St Germain but his position is under scrutiny following their Champions League last-16 exit to Real Madrid.
Spain boss Luis Enrique and Sevilla head coach Julen Lopetegui have also been linked with the vacant post at Old Trafford, with Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel reportedly no longer under consideration.