Managers who could replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Man Utd

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has come under renewed fire from supporters and the media following a disappointing start to the season.

With Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo arriving at Old Trafford to build on the steady progress of the last two seasons, this was supposed to be United’s triumphant return to the upper echelons of English and European football after so many years of underachievement.

But that isn’t the way it has gone. For all the talent in the squad, United have largely struggled to perform and most of the games that have been won so far have been scraped through.

Defeat to Leicester last time out marked another lacklustre performance and a third successive Premier League game without a win, losing more crucial ground in the early title race.

Solskjaer was given a new contract in July and is believed to still have the support and faith of his bosses in the Old Trafford hierarchy, but fans can’t help wonder if he is increasingly on borrowed time without a considerable upturn in the coming weeks and months.

But even if the club decides to move on from Solskjaer, a managerial change shouldn’t signify the start of a brand new era. There has been considerable development under the Norwegian over the last three years and United have only recently got back on the right track with a longer-term picture in mind after previously lurching from one conflicting regime to the next.

Starting from scratch all over again, like from David Moyes to Louis van Gaal, van Gaal to Jose Mourinho, or Mourinho to Solskjaer, is absolutely not an option.

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Here’s a rundown of eight coaches that have already at least loosely been linked to the job…

8. Julian Nagelsmann

Julian Nagelsmann

Current status: Bayern Munich head coach – contract until 2026

Still only 34, Julian Nagelsmann is one of the top rated coaches in Europe. But this would been vastly more feasible had he not been poached from RB Leipzig by Bayern Munich in April.

His coaching methods and record of developing players would be a good fit for United, as well as having a personality big enough to rise to the job – have you seen his dress sense? But Bayern invested heavily to get him and he is extremely unavailable for now, unless it goes disastrously wrong.

7. Antonio Conte

Antonio Conte

Antonio Conte guided Juventus back to the pinnacle of Italian football in the early 2010s after nine years without a title, not including those stripped as a result of calciopoli. He did similar for Inter last season and is a proven winner in the Premier League with Chelsea.

The major red flag with the Italian is that he represents a short-term approach that is far from ideal. United don’t currently have the players to fit his system and Inter are arguably no better off, despite last season’s title.

6. Gareth Southgate

Gareth Southgate

Current status: England head coach – contract until 2022

Gareth Southgate has built a reputation as an international manager thanks to taking England to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and the final of Euro 2020.

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Management and game plans, rather than coaching, appear to be the answers at United, and that is something Southgate has shown he can do with England. The only concern would be that his experience in club management is limited to three years at Middlesbrough over a decade ago.

5. Erik ten Hag

Erik ten Hag

Current status: Ajax head coach – contract until 2023

Erik ten Hag has enjoyed tremendous success with Ajax in recent years, guiding the club’s latest golden generation to within a kick of the 2019 Champions League final.

The Dutchman is well accustomed to a club that prioritises player development and preaches an overarching philosophy, which is exactly what the Old Trafford hierarchy have tried to re-implement in Manchester over the last three years.

4. Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane

Current status: Unattached

It is not a building job at Old Trafford. United’s squad is already largely in place and Zinedine Zidane earned a reputation as the ‘great enabler’ when he transformed a Real Madrid side that had underperformed under Rafa Benitez into three-time back-to-back Champions League winners.

His presence could also be a big boost for Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Paul Pogba. What’s more, he is unattached and therefore available. The big downside is that he is widely thought to be holding out for the France national team job.

3. Thomas Frank

Thomas Frank

Current status: Brentford head coach – contract until 2023

Thomas Frank was unheard of in England until arriving at Brentford, initially as an assistant coach, but has been celebrated since guiding the Bees to the Premier League and enjoying an outstanding start to life in the top flight.

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The 48-year-old has coached several of Denmark’s junior international teams, developing players and therefore fitting with the United philosophy. He also clearly knows how to get the best out of those at his disposal.

2. Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers

Current status: Leicester head coach – contract until 2025

His Liverpool past might count against him, but Brendan Rodgers is rightly revered as one of the best Premier League managers of the last 10 years.

The 48-year-old is a proper student of the game, has a proven track record of working with young players and improving others, as well as subscribing to a philosophy that would be a continuation of the existing framework that has been put in place at Old Trafford.

1. Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino

Current status: PSG head coach – contract until 2023

Although under contract at PSG until the end of next season, it is feasible to see Mauricio Pochettino out of a job come this summer if the French giants fail to win the Champions League. He failed to deliver a Ligue 1 title – the club’s bread and butter – when he joined the club in January.

Pochettino has enjoyed success in the Premier League before with Tottenham and United are currently at the next step up from where he came to the end of the road with Spurs.

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