The pressure really started to mount on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, especially after Liverpool and Manchester City’s recent demolition of them at Old Trafford. After the battering they took at Watford on Saturday, Manchester United finally decided to part ways with their under-fire manager.
The last time things were this bad, Jose Mourinho lost his job in December 2018.
United then hired Solskjaer on an interim basis, initially expecting the Norwegian to merely see out the season. But the 48-year-old landed the job permanently in March 2019 after impressing in the role.
There had always been doubts about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s managerial credentials. Success at Molde was followed by a disastrous stint in charge of Cardiff City when he first ventured into the Premier League.
He may have lifted the mood upon replacing Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, too – but the sense that he is holding the club back had never truly left.
Manchester United are an absolute shambles, from top to bottom and the 4-1 loss to Watford showed it. It’s very hard to describe how numb it feels around the club. Remember Jose Mourinho’s end as manager? That felt awful, but it’s beginning to feel just as bad, if not worse.
The two-week international break seemed like the perfect opportunity for United to act with Solskjaer, but they didn’t.
That’s where the problem lies currently. There aren’t many available managers on the market to come in and do a job at Old Trafford. Arguably, the best option is to bring in an interim and wait until next summer until more options become available.
But, when you think about the current situation, United need to make a change now. So, it’s a weird situation to be in.
POTENTIAL MANAGERS AVAILABLE FOR MANCHESTER UNITED
1. ZINEDINE ZIDANE
When you look at what United need right now, Zidane seems like the perfect fit. He has experience managing superstars, playing attacking football and winning trophies.
Zidane has been without a club since his second spell as Real Madrid manager came to an end in the summer. Although he tasted plenty of success, he is yet to take the reins away from the Bernabeu, which could give Man United pause for thought.
He is one of the few candidates on this list that is not currently in a job, and with players like Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo, there are a few familiar faces at the club that could tempt him. He is also one of the few on this list who is currently not in a job.
After a decorated playing career, Zidane gradually moved into management. The former French superstar made it look easy, winning the Champions League in each of his first three seasons in the Real dugout.
He resigned in May 2018, claiming that change was needed at the club, but soon returned to replace his former teammate Santiago Solari. Zidane led Los Blancos to another La Liga title last year before stepping down again this summer.
2. GRAHAM POTTER
Scroll for long enough on your smartphone and eventually, you will find Graham Potter’s name on the bookies’ longlist for Manchester United’s next manager.
Potter is undeniably one of the best coaches in the league. The way he makes his teams play football is genuinely outstanding. The concern would be how he’d deal with managing the egos and personalities that come with the United job. But at this point, it would be worth the risk.
1️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ Albion games coming up for GP! 🙌 Relive ten of his biggest moments right here. 🤩
— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) November 19, 2021
Potter is not the high-profile manager that sections of United’s fanbase, still scarred by the spirit sapping days of David Moyes, would crave.
However, as someone who prioritises team structure and set patterns of play over dressing room dynamics, he would provide tactical clarity that has been sorely lacking under Solskjaer.
3. ERIK TEN HAG
The current Ajax manager is an outstanding coach, and almost led his side to a dream Champions League final. He would slot in really well at United, and it would be music to the ears of one Donny van de Beek too.
— AFC Ajax (@AFCAjax) November 20, 2021
Ten Hag has turned them into a finely tuned machine since taking charge in December 2017. Not only have they enjoyed domestic success, but he also led Ajax to the semi-finals of the Champions League two years ago, seeing off Real Madrid and Juventus along the way.
Unfortunately for United, he recently came out and said that he won’t be leaving Ajax any time soon.
4. JOACHIM LOW
Joachim Low won the World Cup, reached another semi-final and made at least the last four of three consecutive Euros.
Joachim Low had a relatively successful spell as Germany manager, winning the 2014 World Cup, whilst also winning the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia. The 61-year-old has been in coaching since 1992 and would bring bags of experience into Old Trafford, and would certainly get something out of the current crop of United players.
It’s something United should consider because there will be better options available next summer.
5. RALPH RANGNICK
At 63 years of age, Rangnick has loads of experience in managing elite-level clubs but hasn’t been in management for a while.
The German has been attributed as the catalyst for the current crop of German coaches and was highly influential in adopting the philosophy of Gegenpressing, where after losing possession, the team immediately attempts to win back possession, rather than falling back to regroup.
Rangnick’s most successful period was with Schalke, where he won the 2011 DFB-Pokal and reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League. Now, Rangnick would be a good appointment at the interim level, but permanently, United would be wise to look at other options.
Ralph Rangnick to Manchester United? #MUFC
— football.london (@Football_LDN) November 21, 2021
Manchester United have let ‘a series of elite managers slip through their fingers over the past five years.
Can’t argue with that. Jurgen Klopp. Pep Guardiola. Thomas Tuchel. Mauricio Pochettino. Antonio Conte. Manchester United have been linked with all of them since 2016, with each available at least once in that timeframe.
‘FOR the self-proclaimed biggest club in the world, Manchester United seem curiously happy to settle for second best.’