Earlier this week, the 52-year-old was confirmed as the club’s next permanent manager and will begin his reign at the end of the season. But with his appointment now announced, thoughts are already turning to how Ten Hag will go about arresting the slide which has set in at the Red Devils.

The Dutchman joins United with the club at their lowest ebb in a generation, amidst a five-year trophy drought and trailing their biggest rivals by a country mile. Ten Hag is set to conduct a major overhaul in the summer, putting his own stamp on the playing staff.

One dilemma the new manager will have to deal with quickly and definitively is the debate over who will be the United skipper next term. Harry Maguire has had the armband this season, but his dramatic decline in form has seen his position come under serious scrutiny.

It has been claimed that his United team-mates have questioned his standing in the squad, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick continuing to keep him in the firing line in spite of his often below-par performances.

Maguire hit back at those sentiments in a passionate message, stating: “This season, I’ve had some bad games. But I wouldn’t be playing every game for Manchester United in the starting eleven if I’d been playing bad every game or not playing well enough.”

He explained: “There’s a reason why both managers have put me in the starting eleven every game – for what I bring to the team, for what I bring to the starting eleven. But I do also understand that I’m the captain of this club. I cost a lot of money. And when things aren’t going well, and we’re conceding too many goals, I’m going to get criticised.”

But according to reports in Spain, Ten Hag is ready to make a clean break and make Barca’s De Jong ‘the leader of the project’ when he arrives in England this summer. The two compatriots linked up together to great success at Ajax and, although the midfielder is happy at the Camp Nou, Diario Sport claim his old manager could persuade him over a move to the Premier League with the promise of being at the forefront of his plans.

On the Blaugrana’s part, they wish to keep De Jong, but their much-publicised financial woes could yet facilitate a move, should the money be right. The 24-year-old signed for Barcelona in the summer of 2019 in a deal worth €75million (£63m) and is a regular for Xavi’s vibrant side.

Central midfield looks set to be a priority for Ten Hag, who will join a team bereft of options following the imminent departures of Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba. Matic has already confirmed his intentions to leave Old Trafford, while it appears Pogba has played his last game for United after picking up an injury during the defeat to Liverpool.

Rangnick said: “As it seems right now he will not renew his contract and I don’t know, maybe the club or Erik [ten Hag] will not want to renew his contract, I don’t know. It’s most likely he won’t be here anymore next season.”