Manchester United have edged closer to naming Ajax boss Erik ten Hag as their new manager.
Old Trafford officials continue to insist the process of appointing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s permanent successor is not complete and that it is premature to say a deal has been done.
However, it is understood Ten Hag is now the favoured candidate among senior figures at United.
It was clear the choice had narrowed to Ten Hag or Mauricio Pochettino.
However, BBC Sport has been told it is felt Ten Hag would be a better fit for the structure now in place at United, where John Murtough is the football director, Darren Fletcher is technical director and interim boss Ralf Rangnick an advisor.
It is not thought an official announcement is imminent and with Ajax still in a battle with PSV Eindhoven for the Dutch title, it is possible United may delay it even further out of respect for the Eredivisie giants, where former United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar is chief executive.
If the appointment is confirmed, it is likely Ten Hag will bring in a former United coach or player as part of his backroom team, given it is unlikely the remaining link to the Solskjaer era, Mike Phelan, will remain at the club.
The high point of Ten Hag’s reign at Ajax was taking the club to within a minute of the 2019 Champions League final, only to be denied by a Spurs side managed by Pochettino.
Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel and Spain manager Luis Enrique were both considered for the job but it was felt it was impractical to think either man would leave their present employment to join United for the start of next season.
It is understood Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui was also spoken to about the role.