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Erik ten Hag to Man Utd? A history of Dutch managers in the Premier League

Eight Dutchmen have previously managed in the Premier League, including Louis van Gaal at Man Utd
Eight Dutchmen have previously managed in the Premier League, including Louis van Gaal at Man Utd

Four managers are believed to be in the running for the Man Utd job as the club narrows down their search for a new manager.

We now have a new frontrunner in the betting, Erik ten Hag, who has emerged as the odds-on favourite following reports that the Ajax boss has already been interviewed by the Red Devils.

Many fans view Ten Hag as the exciting option to lead the club into a new era and get them back fighting for silverware; given his entertaining and attractive style of play, impressive record of developing young players, and coaching credentials.

If a move for Ten Hag comes to fruition it won’t be the first time that Man Utd have appointed a Dutch manager.

Louis Van Gaal, now back in charge of the Netherlands for a third spell, opted for United over Spurs in the summer of 2014. He spent a largely underwhelming two years at the helm, but did at least end on a high by winning the FA Cup in his final game before he was replaced by Jose Mourinho.

Van Gaal is also one of eight Dutchmen to have managed in the Premier League, four of whom have previously managed Ajax: Martin Jol (Spurs and Fulham), Ronald Koeman (Southampton and Everton), and Frank de Boer (Crystal Palace) being the other three.

Martin Jol’s first game in charge of Spurs was a remarkable nine-goal thriller against rivals Arsenal who left White Hart Lane with the spoils (4-5). He’d go on to finish 9th and 5th twice but was then infamously told he'd been sacked just before a Uefa Cup game against Getafe, which he managed and unsurprisingly lost. Jol returned to the Premier League in 2011 with Fulham, who finished 9th and 12th under his tutorship.

Ronald Koeman led Southampton to their best-ever Premier League finish (6th), then oversaw Everton where he spent a lot of money and delivered little.

Frank De Boer won four successive Eredivisie titles as Ajax manager only to then lose his job at Crystal Palace after all of four Premier League games - a record.

Win Rates of Dutch Managers in the Premier League

  • Guus Hiddink: 52.9%
  • Louis van Gaal: 51.3%
  • Ronald Koeman: 44.7%
  • Ruud Gullit: 39.4%
  • Martin Jol: 37.1%
  • Rene Meulensteen: 23%
  • Dick Advocaat: 17.6%
  • Frank de Boer: 0% 

The first Dutchman to manage in the Premier League was former Ajax player Ruud Gullit, at Chelsea in 1996. Originally player-manager, Gullit led the Blues to their first trophy in 26 years (FA Cup).

He then took charge of Newcastle where he came close to winning a second FA Cup winners medal. A well-publicised spat with Alan Shearer led to his departure.

Guus Hiddink, who was most recently manager of Curacao, twice oversaw Chelsea in an interim capacity. In his first spell, Hiddink won the FA Cup and was prevented from reaching the Champions League final by a 93rd-minute Barcelona winner. He returned during the 2015/16 season, taking the club from 16th to 10th following the disastrous start under Jose Mourinho.

An emotional Dick Advocaat memorably saved Sunderland from relegation, while Rene Meulensteen lasted only a few months in the Fulham dugout. Meulensteen did enjoy far more success working as a first-team coach under Sir Alex Ferguson at Man Utd, whom he helped win multiple Premier League titles, League Cups, the Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup.

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