Mourinho sacked: who will replace him at Old Trafford?
Some of the familiar names will be dredged up but there is no obvious quick-fix solution to Manchester United's woes. AS takes a look at some of the runners.
With José Mourinho out of the Old Trafford door, AS runs the rule over some of the candidates to replace the departed Portuguese.
The former England midfielder, who retired at the end of last season and took on a coaching role at United, will take charge of the team on an interim basis but is unlikely to be offered the role on a full-time basis with the Old Trafford board bound to get on the speed dial during the course of the day in search of a more established coach. However, he will get a game or two to state his case and stranger things have happened.
The former Real Madrid manager is the bookmaker’s favourite to take over from Mourinho, but there are two immediate problems facing the Old Trafford hierarchy: firstly, Zidane said after he left Madrid after two and half seasons that he was planning on taking a sabbatical year and secondly, his agent, Alain Migliaccio, has previously stated that the idea of working in England “does not appeal” to his client. What might appeal to Zidane is a chance to turn around the fortunes of one of the world’s biggest clubs, and the fortune he will be offered to do so.
Of all the top-tier managers currently available Conte and Zidane have the more glittery CVs but the Manchester United board will be keenly aware that the Italian’s reign at Chelsea ended in similarly antagonistic style as Mourinho’s and may feel that bringing in one prickly taskmaster to replace another is a frying pan-fire scenario. The Italian has also stated his preference to wait until June before deciding his next move.
Jardim’s reign at Monaco came to an end with the Ligue 1 side in bottom half of the table and humiliated in Europe, but the Portuguese was hardly to blame; Dmitry Rybolovlev giveth and Dmitry Rybolovlev taketh away. While the Russian billionaire’s investment in Monaco made them a force once again, the club’s policy of selling their best players has backfired this season. Kylian Mbappé, Thomas Lemar, Fabinho, Soualiho Meïté and João Moutinho left last summer and the 2016-17 title-winning squad was cherry-picked in the same manner. If United get the Jardim that has Monaco playing front-foot football and sweeping to Ligue 1 glory, he will prove a bargain.
Good luck to whoever is tasked with making the call to Daniel Levy, but it is little secret that United have coveted the Tottenham manager for some time. If reports of a pay-off to Mourinho of £25 million are accurate, the Old Trafford bean counters may balk at whatever number Levy plucks out of the sky. It may be that they wait until summer to make the Argentinean an offer he’ll at least consider after the financial constraints of live of Spurs.
Players acting up? Staff in need of a little motivation? Fans need something to cheer about? Bringing back the feisty Irishman would galvanise Old Trafford in a flash and if even only until the end of the season it would spark a seismic shift in mood around a ground that has been mired in misery since September. Bring in Nicky Butt, or perhaps Ryan Giggs could shuffle his Wales duties with a place on the bench next to Keano, and there wouldn’t be too many complaints about the six-month ride.