Ajax are on the cusp of winning the Eredivisie title this year, thanks to the management of Erik Ten Hag. Now, it looks like the Dutch club will be keeping their manager, as well. Ajax announced on social media today that Ten Hag has exercised a clause in his contract to extend his stay at the Cruyff Arena for another season through 2023.
His home? Amsterdam… ❌❌❌— AFC Ajax (@AFCAjax) April 30, 2021
+1 for Erik ten Hag ➥ 2023
This comes on the heels of a recent meeting between Ten Hag and Tottenham Hotspur about their open managerial position. While it’s tempting to look at the Ajax announcement and suggest that Ten Hag has rejected Tottenham, according to Fabrizio Romano, it’s the opposite — that meeting reportedly did not go well and Spurs backed off their pursuit of Ten Hag, leading to his contract extension.
Ten Hag has extended his contract with Ajax - he has *not* turned down Tottenham.#THFC board decided to take a step back after talking with ten Hag in the last 48 hours and being aware of Ajax intention to trigger the one-year option. Tottenham will meet other managers soon.— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 30, 2021
Ten Hag, for his sake, didn’t even try to deny that the meeting happened, or that there was potential interest on his side in leaving Amsterdam to come to London. However, he did try and minimize that contact in his comments to the press after signing the extension.
Ten Hag on Spurs link: "I don't want to rule out that that could have happened, but I know what I have here. I know who I am working with, I know what the ideas are, I know what goals we have. I’m happy here. That's where my head and heart are at." #THFC— Jonathan Veal (@jonathandveal83) April 30, 2021
It’s not clear what happened in that meeting. There are unconfirmed (and not well-sourced) rumors that Ten Hag’s command of English wasn’t especially good and that was a sticking point. That would be a bit weird considering Mauricio Pochettino wasn’t exactly fluent when he started as Spurs boss, but it would be consistent with the club forcing Poch to hold press conferences without a translator like he did at Southampton. (The English thing, if accurate, would also make hiring Max Allegri even more super unlikely).
So what next? On to new targets, I guess. Ralf Rangnick has been a name that has popped up a lot lately with regards to Spurs’ open position. Graham Potter and Scott Parker have also been mooted along with a few others. But Spurs are holding their cards close to their vest right now. Hopefully they have a plan. They have a plan, right?