Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s time as a Manchester United manager is finally up. After finishing the second last season. Ole was backed in the summer transfer window with the purchase of Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane & Cristiano Ronaldo. With the squad filled with superstars, Man United was expected to challenge for all the possible trophies. Since the start of the season, the Red Devils are 7th in the league, out of the League Cup and their UCL campaign has been far from convincing.
Various factors have contributed to Ole’s downfall this season. Reluctance to rotate the squad, playing the same formation for the majority of games, rushing players to the matchday squad (even though not ready) to name a few. From the past few games, pressure had been building upon Ole. If losing to Aston Villa at home was worrisome, Liverpool & Man City were simply unacceptable. Losing Watford away last night was the final nail in the coffin. It’s not just the results that have disappointed the fans, but the sheer manner in which Ole got outclassed, was the main factor.
The next big question for Man United’s board now
Immediately after the Watford game, the board called another emergency meeting. The big criticism for the board is that they have again not acted on time. When Ole Gunnar Solksjaer was on borrowed time (after Liverpool’s defeat), they had a week to finalize the right candidate. With an important UCL game just 48 hours away, the board is again in the mode of pressing the panic button. Man United’s worry is they don’t even have a capable in-house candidate to run the show on an interim basis. The International break would have been a perfect time to get in a new manager.
Getting the right candidate even on an interim basis is going to be a task for the board. There are very few elite managers available at the moment. Most of them are tied to contracts with their national teams. The board will have to figure out the right one until they go all out for a permanent manager in the summer.
Now let’s look at some Potential Replacements for Ole Gunnar Solskjær at Manchester United.
- Zinedine Zidane
Zidane is coined as the favorite to replace Ole Gunnar Solksjaer. In the last evening’s emergency meeting as well, the board advised to step up the pursuit of getting Zizou onboard. The Red Devils, however, could face challenges in getting Zidane mid-season. The first reason being Zidane would like to take his next project in the summer window. The second reason is his family’s unwillingness to move to England. Zidane himself is not that fond of the Premier League and is waiting in ranks to take over the reins of the French NT. Can the board tempt Zidane to take the job mid-season, we will see in the next 48-72 hours.
2. Brendan Rodgers
The Man United board certainly admires the former Liverpool and Celtic boss. Even though Rodgers made it clear that he is happy at Leicester City, could find himself in a fix, if at all a formal offer is rolled to him. Brendan Rodgers has experience of the PL and the board feels his gameplay would certainly suit the Red Devils. Moreover, Rodgers has the ability to get the best out of the players and is also regarded as one of the best tacticians in the UK.
- Luis Enrique
Man United hierarchy would certainly fancy a world-class manager like Luis Enrique. Lucho, as he is fondly known, is however tied to a contract with the Spain National Team until the World Cup next year. Can the Red Devils lure him to Old Trafford, as Spain has already qualified in the World Cup? Luis Enrique has superb tactical knowledge and his CV already boasts a Treble with FC Barcelona. Man United will not mind a manager with a serial winner mentality.
2. Erik ten Hag
The Dutchman is likened to almost every big club in Europe. Most of the big clubs are waiting to secure his signature. Erik ten Hag has impressive numbers and wins ratio in the Eredivisie. Ajax has scored 499 goals in 184 games across all competitions averaging 2.7 per game. And Erik ten Hag has a 72.8% win percentage. Which club wouldn’t like to hire a manager who boasts such impressive numbers?
The board could turn its tides towards Laurent Blanc if anyone of the following mentioned above refuses to take the offer. Blanc who is currently the head coach at Al-Rayyan could be tempted to come back to Man Utd. Laurent Blanc knows the culture at Man United where he spent his playing days at Old Trafford as a defender. Having previously managed PSG, this will also give him an edge (of managing a big club) over other potential candidates.
He is one of the most respected and experienced managers in the European football circuit. The pioneer of the Gegenpressing style has been an admirer of Man United for quite some time. Getting Ragnick onboard until the end of the season or even on a long-term contract will actually be a good move for Man United. The players will learn a lot from his experience, will have time to adapt to his style, and might as well get the desired output on the field. The board also will have time to finalize the long-term manager until the summer window.
For now, Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher will take temporary charge. Getting the right manager midseason has never been easy. Even though Conte was waiting and wanting to join Man United, Man United blew up the chance to sign him. The Red Devils have a decent squad, all they need is the manager who can get the best out of these players. The fans now expect the board to act on this opportunity and get the right man for the right job. The fans also expect the board to act at right time, not when the club’s Champions League spot is in danger.
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