After David Moyes’ time as Manchester was put to an end, many are speculating about who the man charged with the task of replacing him will be. With the reds out of the Champions League and a summer overhaul on the cards, it is important United get this appointment right or the future looks bleak at Old Trafford. A few names have been discussed in respect to the job such as Klopp, Giggs, Mourinho and Van Gaal, but for me the outstanding candidate is Diego Simeone.
Many people’s favourite to take over seems to be Louis Van Gaal and his record of success at top European clubs cannot be argued with, however, at the age of 62, he is simply too old to be the next Manchester United manager. After such a disastrous appointment in the summer United don’t want to be looking for a new manager in 2 or 3 seasons time. To be Manchester United manager you need to offer longevity, something the Red Devils have built there recent success on, Van Gaal falls short on this mark.. On the other hand 44 year old Simeone has the possibility of being in charge of the club for at least a decade, if brought in and given he could build the club how he wanted, putting a youth system in place and bringing through players to suit his tactics, he offers the prospect of much needed stability to the club.
Due to his relatively youthful age, Simeone cannot boast a record as great as some of the more experienced managers in world football, despite this some of his achievements are nothing short of remarkable. In just his second managerial job in football he led Estudiantes to their first Argentinian title in 23-years and unsurprisingly won manager of the year, but it is what he has done at Atletico Madrid that proves he is capable of leading Manchester United back to the top of European football.
Simeone took over at Vicente Calderon in December 2011 and by May 2012 he had already won his first silverware as boss in the Europa League. The next season was another step in the right direction for Simeone and his team as he led them to the UEFA super cup and Copa Del Rey titles as well as a 3rd in La Liga – the best finish for Atleti since 1996. Now this season Simone looks to go even better, the club are in the semi-finals of the Champions League and sit on top of La Liga with the title in their hands.
To build a team capable of competing with and beating Real Madrid and Barcelona is something that no manager has managed to achieve in Spain since Rafael Benitez and Valencia in 2004. The financial superiority of the two Spanish giants over Atletico makes the Argentinians job even more outstanding. While Neymar and Gareth Bale were completing big money moves, Simeone was losing Radamal Falcao and having to replace him with Barca cast-off David Villa. If Simeone can build a side capable of winning the title with such little money, it is frightening to think what he could create with the riches United possess.
It is no fluke that Simeone has created a title winning team out of players he inherited and those unwanted by bigger clubs. He has instilled a belief, drive and work ethic in the team that mirrors his own as a player. Undoubtedly a natural born leader, he demands and deserves respect from his players, he gives off a much more authoritative vibe than David Moyes, it is almost – dare I say – Fergie-like. Simeone expects nothing but the best from his players, and as shown in his time at Atletico, players up their game for him.
Simeone may not have his team playing like Barcelona or Bayern Munich at the moment, and United fans have come to expect attractive, free-flowing play, but by no means are Atletico playing anti-football. Simeone has found a system that suits his players and stuck by it. For United, the fact of the matter is that it does not matter how they play next season, all that matters is results and a return to the Champions League, charged with this task I would dare anyone to get in Simeone’s way.
Of course one potential stumbling block is that Simeone is under contract at Atletico, however the Manchester United job is arguably the biggest in Europe and Simeone may take some persuading but he does not seem like a man that turns his back on the chance to further his career, if he does win the league with Atletico the job at Old Trafford may well be his next step. I would urge the decision makers at Manchester United to ensure they snap up the best young manager in world football, or somebody else will.