After a dismal start to the 2018-2019 season, Manchester United’s worst since 1990, that left Manchester United 19 points off Premier League leaders and arch rivals Liverpool, Jose Mourinho has been let go. With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer temporarily taking up the reins for the time being after Mourinho was given his marching orders, the club has announced that they will appoint a permanent replacement in the summer. Taking charge of the most well known sporting name in the world is no mean feat. There are a handful of talents that even qualify for the task. So, who do YOU think will replace Mourinho at Old Trafford? Here is a list of possible contenders. RANK them as you see fit and ADD your suggestions to the list if need be. Don't forget to express your support for your favorite choice in the COMMENTS below!
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United hero Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was given the caretaker charge after Mourinho's departure and got his spell off to a flying start. Should positive results continue, Solskjaer will undoubtedly be in the running to take on the job on a permanent basis. The Norwegian is a fan favourite at Old Trafford after scoring 91 goals in 235 games for Manchester United. Since moving into management, Solskjaer's record has been mixed, winning the Norwegian title twice with Molde before an ill-fated eight-month spell in charge at Cardiff, who were relegated under his tenure.
A long-time favorite to take charge at Old Trafford, Argentinian manager Mauricio Pochettino worked well with the youth players at Southampton and at Tottenham Hotspur, helping develop players like Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana. His stock is at a high after leading Tottenham to top 4 finishes on very tight budgets, but no summer signings and ongoing stadium woes indicate that he may be looking elsewhere. His focus on domestic youth prospects would be welcomed at United, who have recently seen younger players stagnate in development, and his attacking style of play would be popular. He may even be able to bring in talents like Kane, Alli and Kieran Trippier, which would no doubt excite supporters. However, although Pochettino appears to have all the qualities to succeed at any top European club, his lack of silverware at Tottenham, despite a strong winning record is cause for concern. Furthermore, the large payout necessary means that he would be an expensive acquisition, but the club may see it as a worthwhile long-term investment.
Zinedine Zidane‘s progression to management was rapid, and he returned the faith placed in him by Real Madrid with prolific success. Few managers can say they won the Champions League during their first season. None can match Zidane's record of 3 in 3 years! Zizou became the first coach to win the Champions League for the third consecutive time after which he resigned from the club. It is true that his domestic achievements were modest compared to those in Europe. The fact he is untried outside Real Madrid gives some reason for caution, but he is used to dealing with big players with big egos and could get the best out of the likes of Pogba. Zidane is not working at the moment, so no compensation would be needed to secure him, which could be a consideration. Zidane’s Madrid were characterized by attacking football which played to the strengths of their world-class players, specifically Cristiano Ronaldo. Although there’s little chance of securing the former United No. 7 who is now a fixture at Juventus, Zidane would look to do his best using the wealth of talent already in United’s ranks. He would undoubtedly be a great acquisition for the club, if he can be tempted away from his sabbatical.
Former Manchester United defender Laurent Blanc is currently one of the favorites to replace Jose Mourinho as the next long-term manager for the Red Devils. The Frenchman has not worked since being sacked by Paris Saint-Germain but has links with Manchester United after playing for the club for two seasons and winning the Premier League title in 2002-03. He began his managerial career at Bordeaux in 2007, winning domestic honors including the 2008–09 Ligue 1 title. He went on to become the French national team coach until 2012 and led the country to the quarter-finals of Euro 2012. In recent times, Blanc has spoken in glowing terms during the summer about Pogba and also has a great relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson which could earn him points in the selection process.
A highly regarded manager in international football, Leonardo Jardim guided Monaco to their first Ligue 1 title in nearly two decades in 2016-17. He employed an attacking style of football with a young and impressive side, a style which could make him a good fit for Manchester United. His Monaco side also reached the semi-final of the Champions League. Unfortunately because some of Jardim's best players were subsequently sold, this eventually resulted in a bad start to the following season and cost Jardim his job. He will certainly be looking to prove a point if he is given the charge of the wealth of talent at Old Trafford.
Antonio Conte's impact in his first season at Chelsea allied to a superb record at Juventus make him a viable contender if Ed Woodward is looking for a quick solution, but this move would go against the time-honoured trend of trying to fix the flaws of the previous appointment with the next. Conte's coaching did certainly bring the best out of Paul Pogba, who developed into one of the world's most sought-after players under the Italian at Juventus under his guidance. Should he be given the charge at Manchester United, Conte would undoubtedly look to do more of the same.
Sean Dyche is currently one of the longest-serving managers in English football, and second in the Premier League, having been in charge of Burnley since 2012. Dyche has since cemented himself as a successful manager with Burnley, leading the Clarets up into the Premier League on two occasions - the lastest being in 2016, before preserving their top-flight status. He started his managerial career with Watford a year earlier, giving the club their highest league finish in four years. Manchester United fans have grown tired of old-school managers with a pragmatic style of play based on attrition. So many will surely be delighted to hear that the club might consider such a step-change in Sean Dyche.
One of England's brightest young managers, Eddie Howe has worked wonders with Bournemouth, guiding them to the Premier and achieving mid-table safety in the last three seasons. Howe's successes with Bournemouth resulted in him being given the inaugural Football League Manager of the Decade Award in 2015. Howe has often been talked about as future England manager and undoubtedly deserves the chance to work with better players at a bigger team. However, Manchester United may be wary of appointing a British manager after the disappointing David Moyes era at Old Trafford.
After France's victory at the 2018 World Cup, Deschamps became the third man to win the World Cup as both a player and a manager; alongside Mário Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer, following Beckenbauer as only the second to do so as captain. Rumored to have fallen out with half the France squad before the World Cup, Deschamps then went and won it. Also has a proven track record of getting a tune out of Paul Pogba, but will surely be persuaded to stay in his job as manager of the France national team until at least Euro 2020.
A massively successful manager in Italy, Allegri has won the Serie A with AC Milan and has the right attributes to preside over Manchester United with a Ferguson-like spell similar to that at Juventus. Allegri was heavily linked with Chelsea before the appointment of Maurizio Sarri in the summer. And although a final crack at the Champions League Title with Cristiano Ronaldo under his wings may have convinced him to stay for one final season, he may be seeking new challenges in the future.
When he left Liverpool in 2015, Brendan Rodgers' career as a top-level Premier League manager appeared to be over, but he has turned his fortune around in Scotland, by leading Celtic to two titles in impressive style. With Rodgers eyeing up a treble-treble this season, there is little chance that the Northern Irishman would consider leaving Celtic half way through the season. But that has not stopped speculations about Rodgers leaving for United. Although his links with Anfield may preclude him from taking charge at Old Trafford, he has definitely earned another shot at a big club in England.
Martinez spent three years at Goodison Park after winning the FA Cup with Wigan Athletic in 2013 (and getting them relegated in the same season). Despite a promising start on Merseyside - leading Everton to a fifth-place finish with a record points tally - things deteriorated with the fans calling for his dismissal towards the end of his final season. Although he guided Belgium to a respectable third-place finish at the World Cup in Russia, it's hard to imagine why Gray - or anyone - would think Martinez replacing Mourinho at Old Trafford would make sense.
One of the most decorated English players of all time, Michael Carrick is best known for his 12-year playing career with Manchester United whom he also captained. Carrick is currently working as a coaching staff at Old Trafford and it looks like he could be a very quick promotion to the managerial role if United want to go for a cheap but potentially risky option. He still commands respect within the ranks and it could well work out despite his lack of experience at the helm.
Wenger has been waiting for the perfect job to come around since leaving Arsenal in the summer, with Bayern Munich being touted as his next destination. The Frenchman has admitted he is keen to return to management and ideally wants to be in the hot-seat at a club soon. Wenger enjoyed two decades of battles with United, during which time his Arsenal side won the title at Old Trafford and also suffered a humiliating 8-2 defeat. Having the old Arsenal boss at the helm of the Red Devils would be a very dramatic turn of events if one looks back at the years of rivalry but it would be interesting to see how the fans react.
The Manchester United legend undoubtedly missed his best chance to coach his old side when United chose Louis Van Gaal over him after his caretaker job following David Moyes’ exit. Giggs has since followed in the path of his former team-mate Mark Hughes by making his full-time managerial debut in charge of his country. Although many fans would definitely like seeing Giggs back at Old Trafford, it seems like he will have to take the long road back to Manchester United.
There is much to admire about what the arch pragmatist Diego Simeone has done while in charge of Atletico Madrid. Under his management, Atletico Madrid has been punching above their weight for several years in La Liga breaking the traditional duopoly held by Real and Barcelona while operating on a considerably smaller budget. It is no surprise then that Simeone's name is always mentioned when it comes to big vacancies. However, the Argentine's loyalty to Atleti makes this an unlikely pick, and his brand of football is not too dissimilar from Mourinho's - placing plenty of emphasis on being a defensively solid unit. Although he has had success with this style throughout his managerial career, it is not the kind of free-flowing attacking football that is craved by many United supporters.
Luis Enrique, the former Barcelona manager is always on these shortlists thanks to his impressive resume both from his Barca days and before. He has quite a managerial record, working first as a manager in 2008 with Barcelona B, before moving to Roma three years later. He returned to Barcelona after a short stint in the 2013–14 season an Celta, and won the treble in his first year and the double in his second. In 2018, he was appointed Spain head coach and would certainly demand an enormous pay package if he takes charge at Old Trafford, but he could still be worth the investment.
Like Mourinho, Bielsa is no stranger to controversy which is why many are reluctant to put his name in the running to take charge at Old Trafford. But Bielsa has done a decent job with Leeds United and has guided them to the top of the Championship table. He has managed several football clubs and also the national teams of Argentina and Chile, although his stint in Chile was nothing short of controversial. He had a two year-spell at Athletic Bilbao between 2011 and 2013, leading them to domestic and continental cup finals after which he coached Marseille for just over a year. If his antics outside the managerial role can be overlooked, Bielsa could come in and install the attacking football that both the board and the fans of Manchester United crave.
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