Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still in charge of Manchester United but there is serious doubt about his future following their humiliation at the hands of Liverpool.
Given that Solskjaer has perhaps taken Manchester United as far as he can, who can take them to the next level? Who is around to become the Manchester United next manager?
UPDATE: Manchester United directors have reached out and made initial contact with Antonio Conte, according to a report from Sky Sport Italia — full details, here.
There’s no doubting that Solskjaer stabilized United and has them back in the top four and they’re reaching cup finals (not winning them) and doing enough to be in the Champions League each season. But is that enough?
Given the amount of money they’ve spent, the players they have and the expectation their fans have, no, it is not enough.
But if Manchester United do move on from Solskjaer, who can replace him?
Below we take a look at a few of the leading contenders who could come in, as United’s owners can go in very different directions with this hire.
Manchester United next manager candidates
Antonio Conte: Passion with short-term success
He’s available, knows the Premier League and almost guarantees trophies. The problem? His methods are Mourinho-esque and short-term. Conte is a fine manager and will motivate this side and set them up in a strict 3-5-2 system. Maybe that is what United need? He led Chelsea and Inter Milan to league titles and inherited talented squads who lacked direction. Sound familiar? The fact he is out of work means the move is made a lot easier, but Conte is not a fan of playing youngsters and that may dissuade United from bringing him in.
Erik ten Hag: Master at developing young talent
Talking about playing youngsters, if United want to nurture their incredible young talents then Erik ten Hag is the man for the job. He has worked wonders at Ajax in recent years and they not only play an attractive brand of football, but also win and have impressed in the UEFA Champions League. Ten Hag is a manager who is on his way up and is still working hard to prove himself. This would be a big step up, but he is clearly a coach who improves players.
Brendan Rodgers: Silky play with a long-term plan
And in comes Rodgers, a coach who improves players, has a clear playing style and will have a long-term plan to get United back to the top. Of course, his links with Liverpool will muddy the waters here but there’s no doubting his quality. At Swansea, Liverpool, Celtic and now Leicester, he has done a superb job. The big question: would Rodgers leave the relative safety of Leicester to risk the high pressure of United? His stock may never be higher after winning the FA Cup, Community Shield and almost leading Leicester to the top four in back-to-back campaigns. Rodgers would be the smart hire, but he is said to have a huge release clause in his Leicester contract. Are United willing to pay that?
Zinedine Zidane: Big name and can get the best out of big players
Can we really see this happening? Zizou is a legend as a player and he took a legendary Real Madrid side to three-straight Champions League titles then bounced for a few years. Before coming back to win a La Liga title and got to the Champions League semifinal where Real lost to eventual winners Chelsea. Zidane is unproven in the Premier League but his relationship with Ronaldo and Raphael Varane may help and he clearly knows how to handle big egos of star players well. Tough to judge how he will fare outside of the Real Madrid bubble.
Mauricio Pochettino: Should have brought him in years ago
Yes, he’s in charge at PSG, but if they have a bad run of form he could easily be fired. Pochettino is under a little pressure after some underwhelming displays with Neymar, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe up top. PSG aside, this is the man they should have brought in to replace Louis van Gaal and then Jose Mourinho. They didn’t, for whatever reason, and will definitely regret it. Pochettino’s high-pressing style would be adored by the United faithful, and Harry Kane would love to link up with him, but a squad overhaul would be needed to play Poch’s way.
Other contenders to keep an eye on: Luis Enrique, Julian Nagelsmann, Graham Potter