Aakash Rao
7 min readNov 22, 2021

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Next Manchester United manager: Who will be the next in line to try to bring back the glory days?

As expected, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left Manchester United after a humiliating 4–1 defeat to Watford, which has been the 4th loss in the last 5 PL games for Manchester United. Now, however, the Man Utd board have decided to hire an Interim manager till the end of the season before permanently hiring a new manager. Let’s take a look at who could take on the challenge of being Man Utd manager.

  1. Ralf Rangnick – The interim option

Most likely, Ralf Rangnick will be hired as interim manager till the end of the season. The former RB Leipzig manager has been a revolutionary tactician, introducing the concept of Gegenpressing to German football, which has found its way to England through Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel. The German has been a mentor to virtually every manager who uses the unique pressing system, and hiring him would be a very safe choice. He will be able to steady the ship, before someone in the list below takes over before the new season. Rangnick is said to be interested in the job, and would be willing to manage the Red Devils beyond the season. However, we have to see whether the board will be willing to go for Rangnick or will aim to hire a permanent manager. As far as I am concerned, Rangnick will be the best solution for now, and should take charge before we face Chelsea next week.

2. Erik Ten Hag – The exciting option

Erik Ten Hag has refused to comment on whether he will take the Man United job if offered, but realistically, such an offer is too good to pass. Manchester United are still one of the biggest clubs in the world, and the squad they have has huge potential. Ten Hag has been an exceptional manager at Ajax, and has built one of the most dominant Ajax sides ever despite having to sell his star players. Ziyech, VDB, Frenkie de Jong, De Ligt and Dest have all blossomed under him, and earned themselves moves to massive clubs. Meanwhile, he continues to nurture talent at Ajax, with Anthony, Mazraoui, Brobbey and Gravenberch all having recently broken into the first team. His team is young and successful, and more importantly, they’re fun to watch. He could do wonders at Old Trafford, and his exciting style of play coupled with his determination to win and the amazing United squad could finally bring back success to the Mancunians. Personally, I would be happy if he’s appointed our manager, and it’s safe to say everyone associated with Manchester United would be too.

3. Brendan Rodgers – The controversial option

Look, Brendan Rodgers is a great manager, but he’s also a former Liverpool manager, which is why not many fans are too excited by the links to him. That is understandable, but it’s hard to ignore the phenomenal job he’s done at Leicester. Sure, they’ve bottled Champions League football 3 seasons in a row, but they still won an FA Cup, defeating a far superior Chelsea side. You must also remember that Leicester has a far weaker side than the likes of Chelsea or Liverpool. If that Leicester side was playing during the 13/14 season, where many teams were in crisis, they would have dominated the league. Now, however, while their football is entertaining, they still struggle to achieve CL football. However, if Rodgers was given the Man Utd squad, I can guarantee that he would win the FA Cup at LEAST. He led Liverpool to a title challenge despite having a significantly weaker squad, with only Luis Suarez being world class. This squad has Ronaldo, Cavani, Fernandes, Varane, along with other potentially world class players like Greenwood, Sancho and Rashford. Given Rodgers’ history of developing young talents, he could turn this United team into a super team. To conclude, hiring Rodgers wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

4. Luis Enrique – The marquee option

Luis Enrique is a top manager who I rate very highly,(as you will see in my next article, which has been delayed since I had to write this one), and hiring him would be quite the statement by United. Sure, Enrique poured cold water on a move to United, but I doubt he would genuinely reject the chance to manage this massive club next season or the season after that. One option is to hire Rangnick for 18 months, and let Enrique take over from the 2023/24 season after the World Cup. Whether he takes over in 18 months or in 6 months, Enrique would be a top appointment, given the success he has had at Barcelona. He can handle top players, accommodate them in his team efficiently, and bring the best out of them. This was something Ole struggled with, as he was unsure which combinations or formations were the most effective. Another reason Enrique would be a perfect fit is because his style of football is the best version of counter-attacking football, a style which suits United the best. Often, Ole would ask his team to play counter-attacking football, and his team actually excelled at it in 2020/21. This season, however, they’ve struggled at it, and Enrique would help to change that with his exceptional tactics. His attacking 4–3–3 would leave the crowd at Old Trafford mesmerised, and you can be sure he will help lead United back to the top.

5. Zinedine Zidane – The logical option

Admittedly, Zidane would be the easiest to hire in this list, especially since he is unattached currently. The former Real Madrid manager is hardly the best tactician in the world, but he still would bring success to United. United have lacked a basic game plan and shape, both of which Zidane would help bring back. Given that he has already worked with Ronaldo and Varane, he would probably be the manager who would be the best hire in the short term. However, I’m not so sure on whether he would be able to consistently challenge the big teams for the League or CL given his lack of tactical adaptability. His Real team thrived in cup competitions, but he only won 2 league titles in his two spells as Real manager. Moreover, he managed a Real team STACKED with top players like Ronaldo, Benzema, Bale, Marcelo, Ramos etc. While United have a good team, our team is nowhere near that Real team, and I’m also unsure on whether his tactics would work in the PL. While many seem to be convinced that he is the man for the job, I’m not sure whether he would be a perfect fit.

6. Julen Lopetegui – The Risky Option

Look, I’ll acknowledge that Lopetegui is a good manager, but we all know what happened when he took over at Real Madrid. I know our team is very different from Real, but honestly if he couldn’t cut it at Real, what guarantee is there that he will do well at United? Sure, at Sevilla he has been quite the manager, and credit is due to Sevilla for taking a gamble on him, but the only trophy he’s ever won is the Europa League. Is he really the best man to take over such a prestigious club? I don’t want to give you the idea he doesn’t deserve the job, but still when there are other managers with a better CV out there, I’m not so sure on whether he is the best option. Moreover, he has used different tactics at Real and Sevilla, so it is hard to tell how his United team will be if he takes over. To conclude, he wouldn’t be a terrible appointment, but he would be an underwhelming one for sure.

7. Mauricio Pochettino – The Dream Option

Pochettino has been an exceptional manager throughout his career, but it isn’t hard to realise that his best years as a manager were in England. His PSG team are finally gaining some identity and playing superbly, but I’m sure his head would still be turned by the opportunity of managing in England again, but this time for a top club who will fully back him in the transfer market. While managing Messi, Neymar and Mbappe would be exciting, what happens after them? The PSG squad is full of stars, but these stars are in their prime already. Many are 27 and older, with Hakimi and Mbappe being the only youngsters with guaranteed first team spots currently. After these players peak, then what? Pochettino will have to rebuild the squad, while continuing to produce results to keep his job. The PSG management have already shown they like to call the shots in the transfer market, refusing to fully meet former coach Tuchel’s demands. A similar situation played out at Tottenham when Poch managed them, and despite trying to manage with the squad he had, he was simply unable to take them to the next level without the proper backing. Proper backing is not guaranteed at PSG, a ruthless, cash rich club like Chelsea where manager come and go if expectations are not met. At United, however, he would most likely gain backing in the transfer market, which we saw Ole get as Ed Woodward and co. learned their lesson after the sour end to the Mourinho era. He would also be able to build a team around the likes of young talents like Greenwood, Sancho and Rashford, something he has excelled at during his time at Tottenham. His style of football is also very exciting, and the United fans would be more than happy with his appointment. All in all, while his appointment seems unlikely for now, taking the United job may be a better prospect for Poch in the long term.

So, that’s all for this article.I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. We have taken a detailed look at 7 options for the United job, a job with huge expectations, but an enticing prospect nevertheless. Each of these managers are worthy enough of the job, but only one can be hired as manager. Who do you think will be hired? Will it be someone on this list, or is there another manager who could be a good fit? Let me know in the responses section, and till my next article, adios!

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Aakash Rao

An avid Manchester United fan and football/music blogger!