Erik ten Hag assistant Mitchell van der Gaag has reportedly left Manchester United as INEOS continue their rebuild of the club’s sporting structure. Van der Gaag was an ally of Ten Hag and had been the head coach’s No 2 during his first two years at Old Trafford.

INEOS are completing a major shake-up of the sporting structure at the Premier League club. A series of changes have been made above Ten Hag’s head and plans could now affect the Dutchman’s coaching team.

According to the Mirror, Van Der Gaag is understood to have left United ahead of pre-season. The Dutch coach was a trusted lieutenant of Ten Hag’s but a three-year association, which stretches back to their time at Ajax together, has ended.

It comes after fellow coach Benni McCarthy also left having been part of Ten Hag’s coaching staff since his appointment in 2022. Former United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy and FC Utrecht boss Rene Hake have both been linked with replacing the departing duo.

Van Der Gaag’s exit comes after it was claimed by The Athletic that he would sometimes share ‘frank exchanges of views’ with Ten Hag’s other assistant, Steve McClaren. The same story reported that discussions between INEOS and Ten Hag had often included talk over Van der Gaag’s future.

It is claimed that INEOS sporting director Sir Dave Brailsford had adopted the belief that Ten Hag’s backroom team needed restructuring. Talks reportedly involved discussing whether a new assistant could be appointed.

The United head coach is reported to have pushed back against the idea. However, it seems INEOS have won that battle.

Ten Hag has been retained despite wholly underwhelming Premier League and Champions League campaigns last season. United finished eighth in the top-flight and finished bottom of a European group which included Bayern Munich, Galatasaray and Copenhagen.

May’s remarkable FA Cup triumph over Manchester City is believed to have persuaded the likes of Sir Jim Ratcliffe to stick with the former Ajax boss for the upcoming season.

Ratcliffe and his INEOS colleagues have been piecing together the final parts of United’s sporting structure. Arrivals over the past week have included Dan Ashworth as sporting director and Christopher Vivell as temporary global director of talent.

United are expected to ramp up their transfer plans over the coming days. Defensive reinforcements are a priority, with Matthijs de Ligt, Jarrad Branthwaite and Leny Yoro all linked with moves to Old Trafford.


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