All is not well at Manchester United. That’s a sentence that has been written many times about the English Premier League giants in the past few years, but the truth of it is more acutely obvious now than it has been at any point before. Without wanting to sound like we’re being sensationalist, the Red Devils of Manchester are a team that stands on the brink of a full-blown crisis. They’re out of the UEFA Champions League. They look unlikely to qualify for next season’s. The first team squad is made up of old men and expensive flops. This is a team in need of an overhaul – and there isn’t an obvious candidate to manage the process.
Among the many problems facing Manchester United is that they’ve been down this road before. Chopping and changing managers has been the club’s pattern ever since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013, and none of his replacements – not even the once-great Jose Mourinho – have been able to bring lasting success to Old Trafford. United have gambled on sacking and replacing people so often that if the club were to be reviewed as a casino site by someone like sistersite.co.uk, a website with lists of sister sites, they would probably tell them it’s time to take a break and step away from the machine. The issue for United is that they don’t have the luxury that someone playing a casino site does. They can’t simply stop spending money and step away from the casino. They have to keep spending and keep going – and they’re going to need to find the right man to back with their spending.
With all of the above in mind, here’s our list of candidates to manage Manchester United in the 2022/2023 season.
Unfortunately for Manchester United’s incumbent interim manager, the chances of the German coach remaining in his post for next season seem remote. He was brought in to steady the ship after the dismissal of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but results have barely improved at all. United still struggle to score and still blow it in big games more often than they don’t. Rangnick was praised by many of his peers when the news of his appointment broke, with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hailing him as a great manager and a big influence on his career. Many pundits thought United’s board had finally made a wise move. Instead, it’s become all too clear why Rangnick had never even been mentioned as a contender for a Premier League job before, let alone been offered one. Stubborn, defensive, and seemingly incapable of managing the big personalities in United’s squad, Rangnick has failed his audition. It would be a surprise if he were even allowed to keep his planned consultancy role for next season once a new man is appointed.
Erik ten Hag
Ajax manager Erik ten Hag is believed by many to be Manchester United’s preferred candidate for the permanent role. He’s highly rated in the Netherlands and has done a wonderful job with Ajax. On the other hand, he’s never been tested outside the Dutch league, and, with no disrespect intended to any Dutch readers or fans of Dutch football, the Eredivisie is not the Premier League. Ten Hag is much admired for the style of football that he plays, but nobody has any way of knowing how he’d cope with the intense scrutiny that comes with being the manager of Manchester United or the pressure of inheriting a seat that was too hot for Jose Mourinho or his compatriot Louis van Gaal. Ten Hag would be a bold choice but also a very risky one.
The news that Erik ten Hag has become the preferred candidate at Old Trafford will have been met with disappointment by former Spurs coach Mauricio Pochettino, who was once seen as a sure thing to become Manchester United manager one day. The only reason that Pochettino has always been interested in United, and United’s board has always been interested in him. The only reason he doesn’t have the job already is that dates have never lined up. The Argentine has always been in a job when the Old Trafford hot seat has become available. Right now, he’s in charge of Paris Saint Germain, but that might be about to change after yet another early exit from the Champions League. Unfortunately for “Poch,” his star has faded during his time in Paris. He’s increasingly seen as a man who can’t win big trophies, and Manchester United need someone who can.
A move for Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel would have been unthinkable as recently as a month ago, but the world has changed since then. Due to ongoing current events, Chelsea is a club in turmoil. The Blues have no chairman, aren’t allowed to spend anything more than what’s deemed absolutely necessary, and can’t make plans for the future. The carnage at the club is believed to have unsettled its Champions League-winning manager Thomas Tuchel, who might enjoy the challenge of replacing his countryman Rangnick at Manchester United. Tuchel’s brief when he arrived at Stamford Bridge was to lift the club out of the mediocrity it was threatening to slip into under previous coach Frank Lampard. He’s done an excellent job of that and would back himself to do the same again at Manchester United. More importantly than that, Tuchel’s resume would command respect from the Manchester United dressing room. That’s something that can’t be said of the other contenders.
Whoever gets the Manchester United job will pick up a potentially poisoned chalice. Cristiano Ronaldo probably doesn’t want to be at Manchester United next season, and Edison Cavani can barely disguise the fact that he doesn’t even want to be there now, let alone in the future. Paul Pogba needs to move on. Harry Maguire is playing like a man who wouldn’t be worth £8m, let alone the £80m that the club paid for him. If Manchester United fans are asked to put up with another season of Fred and Scott McTominay in central midfield, they might start a full-scale revolt. Manchester United doesn’t just need a clear-out; it needs a revolution. To accomplish that, it needs a revolutionary. Of the names on this list, Tuchel is the only one who might be capable.
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