Clubs nervously await Man Utd’s decision on next boss
Manchester United have never appointed a manager outside of the British Isles in the history of the club but, following the sacking of David Moyes, all of Europe’s elite bosses are being linked with the job.
Louis van Gaal is the stand-out odds-on favourite so far, while the odds of the likes of Steve Bruce and Jose Mourinho have been heavily slashed.
Jurgen Klopp is the biggest drifter, after supposedly ruling himself out of the position. The odds for Diego Simeone and Laurent Blanc have also been lengthened.
Jurgen Klopp – 10/1 (from 5/1)
The German would arguably be the fans’ choice to replace Moyes. In his 13 years as a manager, he has been at just two clubs, so his loyalty would be a massive plus.
Klopp has impressed many with his performances and style of play since becoming Borussia Dortmund boss back in 2008, and in that time has won two Bundesligas, the DFB-Pokal, DFL-Supercup, and last season guided his side to the Champions League finals.
The snag, however, is that that his current club would command a big compensation fee as he is contracted until 2018. Moyes’ pay-off will also be obscene, so would United want to spend a needless amount for their error of hiring him?
Louis van Gaal – 10/11 (from 5/1)
Outgoing Netherlands national boss Van Gaal is actively seeking a return to club management, and would bring almost 30 years of coaching experience with him to Old Trafford.
Across spells at Ajax, AZ Alkmaar, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, the Dutchman has won a dozen major trophies, including the Champions League, and domestic leagues and cups in his homeland, Spain and Germany.
At 62 years of age, however, it is difficult to see him staying in the Red Devils dugout long enough to fully rebuild the side.
Ryan Giggs – 10/1
Giggs is quite simply a club legend, one of the best in United’s history, and would command the respect of the players.
The 40-year-old is the Red Devils’ record appearance maker and a born winner. His 13 Premier League titles, four FA Cups and two Champions League trophies, among many others, make him the most decorated footballer in English history.
He has started a coaching position, alongside a bit-part playing role, this season and may be put in charge for the remainder of this campaign.
Pep Guardiola – 14/1
It seems anything Guardiola touches it turns to gold. He is the most successful manager in Barcelona’s history, after just four years at the club, and is now on the verge of matching former Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes’ treble of last season with the German giants.
Spaniard Guardiola has already won the Bundesliga, is in the final of the German Cup and is preparing a Champions League semi-final tie with Real Madrid.
He was reportedly approached by Ferguson to be next United boss before Moyes’ appointment, and if he wins a clean sweep of trophies with Bayern this season, he may feel there is no more challenge at the Allianz Arena.
Antonio Conte – 20/1
Juventus coach Conte is closing in on a third straight Serie A title with the Turin giants that he played for. He may also add the Europa League to his list of achievements this term.
Conte has made the 3-5-2 formation fashionable again in Italy. Could a tactical switch reap similar rewards at Old Trafford?
Italian managers always come with a reputation of defensive solidity, and this is certainly the case with Conte. He may be seeking a fresh challenge as his Juve team would require major investment to compete for the Champions League.
Jose Mourinho – 25/1 (from 40/1)
Although only rejoining Chelsea last summer, Mourinho is already being linked with a departure north to Old Trafford.
Widely thought of as the best current manager in the world, he has also coached the likes of Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Porto, and been highly successful with them all.
The 51-year-old is not enjoying his return to Stamford Bridge, after being frustrated by a lack of fire power but, with Man Utd having a reported £150m to spend this summer, Mourinho may enjoy a new challenge.
Laurent Blanc – 25/1 (from 16/1)
PSG boss Blanc played for the Red Devils during his twilight years for two seasons, winning the Premier League along the way in his final season in 2003.
The former France manager has impressed since trading the pitch for the dugout. He masterminded unfashionable Bordeaux to the League 1 and Coupe de la Ligue in the 2008/09 season.
He took charge of French giants PSG at the beginning of the season, and has lived up to the pressure and expectations by winning both the Coupe de la Ligue and Trophee des Champions, and looking likely to lift the top-flight title.
Diego Simeone – 16/1 (from 9/1)
Argentine coach Simeone has brought Atletico Madrid to within three wins of a historic La Liga title, and has genuinely threatened the El Clasico dominance of Spain’s top-flight.
He could yet add the Champions League to the Vicente Calderon trophy cabinet too, as Atletico have a real chance of reaching the final by beating a Chelsea side short on strikers. How popular would the man who got David Beckham sent off at the 1998 World Cup be at Old Trafford though?
Simeone is understood to have an old school management style, which is not too dissimilar from Moyes’ predecessor Sir Alex Ferguson. He may be losing his top-scorer, this time Diego Costa, for the second summer running, so may feel success at Atletico has become unsustainable.
Steve Bruce – 20/1 (from 50/1)
Former Red Devils skipper Bruce has steered Hull City to the FA Cup final for the first time in their history. He has also racked up 350 games as a Premier League manager across spells at Birmingham City, Wigan Athletic, Sunderland and the Tigers.
United fans can relate to Bruce as he won seven major trophies during Ferguson’s first decade in charge at Old Trafford. There are various other playing favourites the club could turn to, however.
Bruce can boast 16 years coaching experience – more than the likes of Mark Hughes, Roy Keane, Laurent Blanc, the Neville brothers and Ryan Giggs.
Carlos Queiroz – 16/1
The current Iran national boss was Sir Alex Ferguson’s trusted assistant during two spells, and in 2008 helped the side to a Premier League and Champions League double. He knows the ins and outs of the club.
Ferguson spoke very highly of the Portuguese in his recent autobiography. “He was the closest you could be to being the Manchester United manager without actually holding the title,” he wrote. “Of all the ones who worked alongside me, he was the best, no doubt about that.”
Former Real Madrid boss Queiroz has successfully lead Iran to the World Cup tournament finals, and with his contract running out soon, he certainly wouldn’t be a bad choice.
Carlo Ancelotti – 25/1
Another Italian manager, Ancelotti could win a historic La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League treble in his first season at the Bernabeu. How could he follow that next term?
With Premier League experience, including a title and FA Cup triumph during his spell at Chelsea, under his belt, Ancelotti ticks boxes that many other foreign candidates cannot.
During a long stint at AC Milan, he built a hugely successful side that twice won the Champions League – and reached a third final to boot.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers (100/1) is on the cusp of steering United’s bitter rivals to their first ever Premier League crown – ending a 24-year wait for a top-flight title. Could he leave Merseyside on a high and implement a similar style of free-flowing, counter-attacking football at Old Trafford?
Another former Anfield coach, Rafa Benitez, could be lured back to the Premier League from Napoli. He has won silverware in every top job he’s had – even in his ill-fated spell at Inter Milan – and will contest the Coppa Italia final with his current club come the end of the season.