Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui also has his admirers at United, as does Spain coach Luis Enrique, although the likelihood of him agreeing to take a club job before the World Cup later this year is thought to be slim.
United are monitoring the situation at Chelsea, although German manager Thomas Tuchel has given no indication publicly he is thinking about walking out on the Blues, despite their present predicament with owner Roman Abramovich sanctioned and the club up for sale.
Ten Hag, like Argentine Pochettino, has a contract to 2023.
However, that is unlikely to prove an obstacle should United decide the Dutchman, 52, is the right man for the job.
A former coach with Bayern Munich’s second team, Ten Hag has been at Ajax since December 2017 and guided them to within a minute of reaching the Champions League final in 2019 before Lucas Moura’s famous goal for Tottenham.
The fact many of the players who were part of that Ajax squad have not achieved the same success elsewhere is a measure of his coaching abilities.
Ajax won the Dutch league title in 2019 and 2021 and are currently top of the table by two points from PSV Eindhoven.
Whoever gets the United job faces a big summer, with Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Edinson Cavani and Juan Mata all out of contract.
‘I feel like Ten Hag is a bigger risk than Pochettino’
Pochettino succeeded Tuchel as PSG boss in January 2021 and missed out on last season’s French league title, although last season’s Coupe de France win did represent a first major honour in management for the former Tottenham and Southampton boss, 50.
However, after being Champions League runners-up in 2020 and beaten semi-finalists a year ago, PSG failed to reach the quarter-finals this season as they let a 2-0 aggregate lead slip to lose 3-2 to Real Madrid.
PSG players were then booed during a 3-0 home win over Bordeaux and before losing 3-0 at Monaco on Sunday, their fourth defeat from their past six games in all competitions.
They still have a 12-point lead over second-placed Marseille in Ligue 1 but Pochettino said after Sunday’s defeat that “there is sporting shame. It can’t be repeated. We can still lose matches, but what happened shouldn’t”.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live’s Euro Leagues podcast, French football expert Julien Laurens said: “Ralf Rangnick knows his relationship with Erik ten Hag will be very strong because of the past they have together and the relationship they already have compared to Pochettino, who might not want him there and who he doesn’t really know.
“I still feel like Ten Hag is a bigger risk and a bigger gamble than Pochettino.
“It could also be someone else, but I still think Pochettino because he knows the league, he is slightly more experienced in terms of Premier League years than Erik ten Hag. That has to give him a little edge.”
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