Rio Ferdinand believes new Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag would become a “messiah” if he turns around the club’s fortunes overnight but he isn’t expecting them to challenge for the title.
The BT Sport pundit was asked for his prediction ahead of next season and, while he initially joked that United could be in contention, he believes Manchester City will retain top spot:
“It depends on Man United’s recruitment. Jokes! No, no, no. Listen, I said at the beginning of this season that Chelsea would win it after winning the Champions League and what Tuchel had done but they went backwards. I’m going to go for City. I think they’ll get the three in a row they’re looking for. I think that will happen.”
“But I think what Klopp’s done has been nothing short of remarkable, to come in and change that club around. Where they were is almost like where Man United are at now. So if Ten Hag can come in and do like what he [Klopp] did, we’ll be looking at him as a Messiah. So I think it’s only right we do that with Klopp.”
It’s hard to bet against City, considering how strong they look under the guidance of Pep Guardiola, and Ferdinand is right to point out how big a task ten Hag has got on his hands.
Whether he can perform miracles and get United competing for titles quickly, it remains to be seen, but a lot will depend on how smart the club’s recruitment is, along with ten Hag’s ability to adapt to the demands and intensity of English football. Optimism among fans is high and it will be hoped that the Dutchman can succeed where so many others have failed.