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Kieran McKenna signs new Ipswich Town contract after interest from Man Utd,

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Kieran McKenna has signed a new four-year contract at Ipswich after attracting interest from Manchester United, Chelsea and Brighton.

The 38-year-old coach has guided Ipswich to back-to-back EFL promotions and a first Premier League campaign at Portman Road for 22 years, but there were question marks over whether he would remain at the club next season.

Sky Sports News revealed McKenna was a candidate for the vacant Brighton job following Roberto De Zerbi’s departure, while Man Utd officials met with representatives of the Ipswich boss.

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Jamie Carragher says Kieran McKenna’s decision to stay at Ipswich is ‘massive’ for the club, and gives them a better chance of staying in the Premier League.

McKenna was also linked with replacing Mauricio Pochettino at Chelsea, but was told by phone on Sunday that the club were looking elsewhere.

Now, the speculation around the Ipswich boss’ future has been ended, with McKenna extending his stay at Portman Road in a major boost for the newly promoted club.

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CEO Mark Ashton says Kieran McKenna signing a new four-year deal with Ipswich is the best signing the club will make this summer. (Credit: Ipswich Town FC)

“I am extremely proud to have signed a new contract with the club,” said McKenna. “We have enjoyed incredible success together over the last two seasons and I’m excited to have the opportunity and responsibility of leading this fantastic club into its first season in the Premier League in 22 years.

“Preparation and planning for the challenge ahead has been ongoing since we won promotion at the beginning of May, with plenty of work still to do before the start of the new season at what is such an exciting time for everyone at the club.

“I am so happy to have committed my future to taking the next step with Ipswich Town and I am really excited for what’s ahead as we continue this journey together.”

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Sky Sports’ Sam Blitz and Simeon Gholam take a look at what Leicester’s Enzo Maresca and McKenna could bring to the Premier League and why they are in such high demand

Sky Sports News has been told the key to keeping McKenna at Ipswich has been the calmness and great working relationship between CEO Mark Ashton and McKenna.

Majority shareholder Ed Schwartz flew in on Friday to hold talks last week alongside Ashton and McKenna.

Ipswich appointed McKenna in 2021, and in his first full season in charge, he led Ipswich to promotion from League One to the Championship.

It was followed by a second consecutive promotion with Ipswich getting out of the Championship at the first attempt to reach the Premier League for the first time since 2002.

Assistant manager Martyn Pert, first-team coaches Charlie Turnbull and Lee Grant and head of goalkeeping Rene Gilmartin have also extended their contracts.

How McKenna got double-promotion

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Ipswich Town’s players are covered in champagne as they celebrate promotion to the Premier League

Sky Sports’ Adam Williams:

On December 16, 2021, Ipswich confirmed 35-year-old Manchester United assistant manager McKenna had been appointed their new manager on a three-and-a-half-year contract.

“Kieran who?” was understandably the majority of the reaction beyond those who may not have been familiar with McKenna’s work under Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick at Old Trafford alongside Michael Carrick.

Softly spoken at first, but methodical, clear and honest in his media engagements, fans soon welcomed the departure from McKenna’s more brash and at times, overbearing predecessors.

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McKenna reflects on a successful night after Ipswich beat Coventry 2-1, taking them closer to promotion

Promotion would prove too tough a task to achieve in the remainder of that season as Ipswich finished 11th but already McKenna had irons in the fire for his first full season in charge.

Freddie Ladapo, Dom Ball and Leif Davis would be the notable summer signings and from the off, it was clear the race to win League One that season would be hotly contested.

Plymouth set and maintained the pace throughout while Ipswich, Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley tried to keep up.

After slipping down to fourth on February 14 with a goalless draw at Bristol Rovers, thoughts were understandably turning to another season of disappointment with Town eight points adrift of the top two.

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McKenna discusses what it means to accomplish back-to-back promotions for Ipswich and also what he wants to achieve with the side now they are in the Premier League

But January’s transfer window had already seen four key additions in George Hirst, Harry Clarke, Massimo Luongo and Nathan Broadhead. They would prove to be pivotal as Ipswich went on to win 13 of their 15 remaining league games, including eight in a row, to amass 98 points and automatic promotion back to the Championship after a four-year absence.

It felt good to be back in the second tier and as this season began, many supporters were hoping to just win more games than they lost and use it as a chance to continue building on the good work of the previous 18 months.

But 46 games later they are heading back to the top flight. A season of free-scoring, free-flowing, full-throttle football has seen both Ipswich’s and McKenna’s stock soar.

What now for Man Utd?

Erik ten Hag will be replaced as Manchester United manager only if the club believe there is a better option out there.

The final decision on Ten Hag’s future will be made during the season review United are carrying out now.

Ten Hag is waiting for the outcome of the review but is convinced he is the best man for the job. He is confident United will perform much better in the league next season if he stays – especially if key players remain fit and the club sign a centre back, midfielder and striker.

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McKenna said speculation linking him with the vacant Chelsea and Brighton jobs was not his focus after leading Ipswich Town to the Premier League

Analysis: Why Ipswich’s McKenna is a manager in demand

McKenna has been a wanted man this summer – for all the right reasons.

Why is he a manager in such high demand? Sky Sports takes a look at the reasons here…