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Who will be the next manager of Manchester United?

Zidane, Pochettino, Carrick, Conte? Who will be the next manager of Manchester United?

December 18, 2018 By Emmanuel K. Budu-Annor
With Jose Mourinho gone, we assess the potential candidates to succeed the Portuguese manager.

The day many saw beckoning for Jose Mourinho finally arrived with Manchester United confirming that the Portuguese manager has 'left' the club. A disappointing start to the season under the ex-Chelsea manager has seen the Red Devils currently placed sixth in the Premier League table while being 19 points adrift leaders Liverpool after just 17 games.

Following Mourinho's departure on Tuesday morning, Manchester United revealed that it will appoint a caretaker manager to momentarily run affairs while the club prepares to make a permanent appointment in the summer. Former Manchester United attacker Ole Gunner Solskjaer has been tipped as one under consideration to take on the temporary position and could be supported by Michael Carrick.

The role of a director of football is also said to be up for grabs with the club aiming to streamline its identity. So, now, the big question that remains is, who will replace Jose Mourinho permanently next summer?

1. Zinedine Zidane

The name of the French manager has been thrown around in numerous debates since Manchester United's crisis under Mourinho began. The 46-year-old took a step back from management after winning a historic treble of UEFA Champions League trophies with Real Madrid.

Currently unassigned, Zidane's next managerial destination is locked in a conundrum as popular talks incite that whichever club he takes over should possess a status on par or directly below that of Real Madrid.

Not too long ago, Arsene Wenger threw his compatriot a challenge to accept a managerial offer from a Premiership club due to the competitive nature of the league. While there was no vacancy at any top club then, now there is. There is certainly enough time between now and next summer for Manchester United to properly convince Zidane to take on a job that has the tendency of establishing him as the best manager of all time considering the current status of the Red Devils.

2. Mauricio Pochettino

A top coach who is good at developing young players and delivers results with a very small budget. Certainly espouses the qualities of a manager who, not too long ago, dominated English football with Manchester United. Following his arrival from Southampton in 2014, the Argentine has consistently led Tottenham Hotspur to top four finishes on a regular.

Back in May, the 46-year-old manager penned a five-year contract extension, underlying his desire to manage affairs at the North London club. With the current contract running until 2023, chairman of Spurs, Daniel Levy, would fancy the idea of losing an arm than to let the former Espanyol and Southampton manager depart.

However, the resources that will be at Pochettino's disposal at Manchester United could very much cause him to rethink the commitment he made to Tottenham. But for the Red Devils to fully satisfy the Argentine manager's 'come-get-me' plea, they would have to compensate Spurs with £34 million – a spectacular record fee for a football manager.

3. Antonio Conte

Conte's first season at Chelsea was pure orgasmic and so to say, the tendency of the Italian replicating that at Manchester United when given the nod vividly exists. Bar his struggles in his third season at Chelsea which stands as a stain in his career, Antonio Conte's managerial prowess cannot be understated.

He excelled at Juventus and successfully polished Paul Pogba's raw talent to make him thrive alongside the likes of Vidal, Pirlo and Marchisio. Having worked with players with big egos in both club stints at Chelsea and Juventus, Conte could very well handle the big personalities in the Manchester United dressing room.

However, as to whether the Red Devils fancy a coach whose man-management qualities have come under scrutiny at times remains one to be decided by the board.

4. Michael Carrick

Currently, the best bet will be for Michael Carrick to assume the caretaking role if the rumored enquires to bring Solskjaer falls through. However, it will only be logical for the club to give the former Red Devils skipper the keys to the kingdom if he successfully secures a top-four finish in the hypothetic scenario of becoming the short-term manager.

Carrick spent 12 years playing for the 20-time English champions and, momentarily, has in-depth knowledge about the players than any one of the technical team. He is admired, revered and respected by his former teammates and, as a result, could successfully churn the best out of them with the daunting task of securing a top-four finish ahead.

Honorable mentions

  • Leonardo Jardim – Ex-AS Monaco manager

  • Ryan Giggs – Wales

  • Laurent Blanc – Ex-Paris Saint-Germain manager

  • Arsene Wenger – Ex-Arsenal manager

  • Eddie Howe – Bournemouth

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