It is no secret that Louis Van Gaal has been struggling this season. A swift exit from the Champions League and the Capital One Cup is just the start of Van Gaal’s problems. He is quickly becoming unpopular with the fans with his allegedly boring style of play and his weird encounters with the media have lead fans to question Ed Woodward’s decision to leave him in charge.
Perhaps the only reason he remains in the hot seat is it remains mathematically possible for United to still qualify for Champions League next season. If it does become impossible for them to qualify then United will let Van Gaal go with a smaller payout than if he was fired now, like the David Moyes situation two seasons ago.
It must be frustrating for United fans that United’s expectations have fallen so low; now just qualifying for Champions League is acceptable when they have become used to being in contention for the title, especially with the amount of money Van Gaal has spent. Most people would agree when I say United need a new manager.
Jose Mourinho has been strongly linked with Manchester United as their new manager with headlines saying he has already made a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ with the club and compiled shortlists on who Mourinho will sign but no formal agreement has been made. Mourinho has said that the best thing for him is to start next season with a new club and that could be Manchester United, but who are five alternatives to Jose Mourinho as the next Manchester United manager?
First alternative is Ryan Giggs. Not a surprise alternative most fans have probably considered him and I’m sure he will be United’s manager at some point in the future. For Giggs and the club, it is just making sure United make him manager at the right time. Granted Giggs has played under Sir Alex when no doubt United were at their best, and maybe Giggs could bring similar success. Sam Allardyce when asked about said “It’s probably not good to let him take over this early”. One thing for sure Giggs will still have a place at United next season.
A second alternative is Mauricio Pochettino. He has had two jobs in England already at Southampton and Tottenham and has excelled in both. His early trouble with the English language is behind him and he seems to handle the Premier league very well at clubs with a smaller budget than Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson has supposedly said to Tottenham MP David Lammy that Pochettino is the best manager in the Premier league. Although Ferguson has long since moved upstairs at Manchester United, his opinion must still be highly valued by the United board. Pochettino has said he would snub United if they came calling, but his love of attacking football means United may do their best to recruit the Argentine for next season.
Next on the list is Diego Simeone. Currently the manager of Atletico Madrid and doing very well with his team second in the league, four points ahead of third-placed Real Madrid. Someone who was linked fairly heavily to be Chelsea’s manager next season but with The Blues now chasing after Juventus manager Antonio Conte it leaves Simeone open to negotiation from other clubs. United have been looking at Simeone for a while and many senior players had believed he was the one going to replace David Moyes when he got sacked. Some of the players still believe Simeone will take the reigns at the Theatre of Dreams in the summer. A squad source told The Metro: “All the betting may be on Mourinho coming in but the talk among the players is all about Simeone”. United should definitely consider Simeone in the summer as he’d be a great addition to the Premier League and he would be able to get the best out of his players…just no one mention a certain altercation all those years ago with former Red Devil David Beckham…
The fourth alternative is former Old Trafford centre-back, Laurent Blanc. The Frenchman is currently the manager at PSG, who are a whopping 23 points clear at the top and haven’t lost a league game in the current season so far. United need a hungry manager who is experienced at managing a big club, still relatively young and has got a track record of success. Blanc is already a big name in football who is well respected and could attract big names to Manchester United. Also as a former player at United he can try to rebuild the red half of Manchester to what it was during his brief stint as a player there. He knows English football and still has potential to improve, perhaps alongside former teammate Ryan Giggs. Laurent Blanc would be a great answer to City recruiting Pep Guardiola.
Which brings me to my final, left-field alternative, Manuel Pellegrini. It’s long been known that Pellegrini is leaving City in the summer and he has expressed his desire to stay in the Premier League. It has been rumoured Chelsea are sniffing around the Chilean which seems more likely instead of Pellegrini moving straight to City’s biggest rivals. City appointed Pellegrini in the summer of 2013 so will have had two full seasons of Premier League experience. He plays attacking football and is used to managing large budgets. His prioritising of competitions is usually very good as he won the Capital One Cup and Premier League in his first season in charge. Whether United fans would welcome a man who is now deemed not good enough by their neighbours makes this an unlikely alternative but lets face it Pellegrini has had Man City playing the kind of football that Old Trafford is sorely missing.
So, with Giggs is likely to stay as an assistant for at least another season he will learn and gain valuable experience regardless of who takes charge, even if it is Mourinho. Pochettino would be an interesting appointment but we can only speculate how he would handle himself at a big club and it maybe best to let him gain more knowledge and experience elsewhere. Simeone sounds like the manager the players want and he would get the best out of them which is something Van Gaal has struggled to do as has Jose Mourinho for more than two seasons. Laurent Blanc, in my opinion, is the perfect man to take charge as he knows the club, can attract players and hasn’t even reached his full potential yet. Pellegrini probably isn’t the right man for the Red Devils, but I wouldn’t rule him out as his attacking style of play would work at United.
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