The November international break has always been a time when Premier League clubs consider a change in the dugout and within 24 hours of Manchester United’s latest Old Trafford humiliation, two more bosses had been sacked.
Daniel Farke was dismissed by Norwich just hours after guiding them to their first win of the season, while Dean Smith was relieved of his duties at Aston Villa after a run of five straight defeats.
Villa haven’t won since a 1-0 success at Old Trafford but the man in charge at United remains in a job for now. Three managers have been fired in the Premier League since United’s 5-0 defeat to Liverpool just over two weeks ago, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has survived.
The board’s backing for the beleaguered Norwegian comes despite a run of six defeats in 12 games and successive Old Trafford embarrassments against Liverpool and Manchester City.
As things stand Solskjaer will be in charge when United return to action at Watford on November 20. One of the arguments against replacing the 48-year-old is a lack of an obvious target to come in, but the Manchester Evening News has taken a look at five potential candidates to replace Solskjaer.
Brendan Rodgers Rodgers is the bookmakers’ favourite at the moment after a good two-and-a-half years at the King Power Stadium. The former Liverpool boss has refused to be drawn on the speculation linking him with the job and to complicate matters he has admirers at the Etihad Stadium, which would make him a strong candidate to replace Pep Guardiola when the Catalan departs.
But the lure of United could be difficult to turn down, especially after Leicester City’s successive near-misses in qualifying for the Champions League. The sight of Arsenal recovering under Mikel Arteta and Tottenham appointing Antonio Conte could make the task harder for Rodgers in the East Midlands.
Mauricio Pochettino The Argentine looked the likely candidate to replace Jose Mourinho when he was sacked in December 2018, but United’s run of form convinced them to give Solskjaer the job permanently.
With the benefit of hindsight, United should probably have appointed Pochettino when he became available after leaving Tottenham in November 2019. Instead, he spent 15 months out of work while United backed Solskjaer before taking the Paris Saint-Germain job.
Pochettino doesn’t seem entirely happy in Paris and agitated for a return to Tottenham this summer. Although PSG are 10 points clear in Ligue 1 they haven’t always convinced this season and it isn’t inconceivable that Pochettino leaves the club and the stars align for United.
Erik ten Hag The current Ajax boss has plenty of support amongst the United fanbase and he’s pressed his claims well in Europe this season. Ajax top their Champions League group and have beaten Borussia Dortmund 7-1 across two games, as well as winning 5-1 at Sporting Lisbon.
The 51-year-old lacks experience at a bigger club but after taking Ajax to within a whisker of the Champions League final in 2019 he’s built another stylish side in Amsterdam.
United’s biggest challenge in appointing Ten Hag would be tempting away from Ajax during the season. It’s likely they will have to wait until the end of the season before appointing the Dutchman.
Zinedine Zidane Zidane is the second favourite with most bookmakers but his name hasn’t been seriously mentioned in discussion around possible replacements and he’s never really expressed an interest in working in the Premier League.
The biggest attraction for United is the fact the Frenchman is currently out of work. He also has a stellar CV having won the Champions League three times with Real Madrid, but despite that success he didn’t always convince as a tactician.
Ralf Rangnick If United decide they need a short-term appointment that Rangnick, 63, could fit the bill. The German has been mentioned as a caretaker candidate previously and the allure of working for the club could be attractive, despite Rangnick’s desire to build long-term projects.
He is currently the head of sports development at Lokomotiv Moscow, but Rangnick reportedly met with United officials two years ago and his name was mentioned in dispatches as a potential technical director or football director.
Next Manchester United Manager odds with Grosvenor Sport
Brendan Rodgers 6/4
Zinedine Zidane 6/1
Mauricio Pochettino 7/1
Erik Ten Hag 11/1
Laurent Blanc 20/1
Massimiliano Allegri 25/1
Rafael Benitez 25/1
Gareth Southgate 25/1
Julian Nagelsmann 25/1
*odds subject to change
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