If the Dutchman is actually leaving, who is likely to take over?
With Pep Guardiola agreeing to manage Manchester City from next season, and with Chelsea looking as favorites to land Massimiliano Allegri next season, United wouldn’t want to be left behind, and with growing speculation that Louis Van Gaal is set to depart United this summer, let us take a look at the potential candidates to replace LVG at United and analyze them a little bit, look at the pros and cons. Keep in mind that football is VERY unpredictable (one look at the Premier League table illustrates this perfectly), so the ‘cons’ that are mentioned below may not turn out to be cons at all. The managers may take up the job with a whole different approach.
So let’s jump right in and view the candidates who could take over from Van Gaal in the near future.
1. Jose Mourinho: Mourinho is probably in pole position to land the United job right now. According to reuters, Mourinho has apparently told his close friends that he’ll be managing at Old Trafford from next season,(if his friends have revealed something to the press then I’m not quite sure how good these ‘close friends’ are!) but until this is confirmed we can just speculate.
PROS: Mourinho has always had a special feeling towards United and he’s made that pretty clear. He’s got the charisma, swagger and just the right amount of arrogance one needs to run a club like United. Mourinho is a winner and he’s proven that time and time again, across some of Europe’s biggest leagues. His record at home (for all the clubs that he has managed) is phenomenal, up until this season, he was unbeaten at home for NINE years! His methods might not have been popular but he knew how to get his team across the line. He also has the ability to attract some of Europe’s biggest players. The ‘Special One’ was always seen as the heir to Sir Alex’s ‘throne’. And lastly the chance of resuming the Mourinho-Guardiola rivalry, this time in the same city! Seems like a mouthwatering prospect, and would take the Manchester Derby to another level!
CONS: Despite his impressive record, the higher ups at United are not too fond of the controversial Portuguese (surprise surprise), Bobby Charlton had said that despite his record, he isn’t a United manager due to his demeanor. An example of this is when he fought (he actually physically fought!) Pep Guardiola during their time in Spain, while that may spice things up both on and off the field, it isn’t how a Man United manager should carry himself. Another problem may be that, there is no Football Director at United, which is why the transfer dealings are conducted by Ed Woodward (chief exec). Mourinho though, would want total control when it comes to identifying and acquiring transfer targets, so this could be an issue as well. The futures of a few of the current United stars could be in danger as well (Juan Mata is the most obvious name that comes to mind). But arguably the biggest worry that a United fan will have is whether Jose Mourinho would continue to blood-in youngsters into the first team, he generally tends to go for proven and experienced players.
If he does get to manage United, then maybe he will alter his methods slightly, you never know.
2. Mauricio Pochettino: The Spurs manager is doing a brilliant job at the moment in turning Tottenham Hotspurs from a top 5 team to genuine title contenders. He has been very impressive this season; in a recent interview Sir Alex Ferguson said that Pochettino is the best manager in the Premier League. Along with Mourinho he’s being heavily linked with the United job.
PROS: Pochettino is a manager who demands 100% in every training session and works his players to their limits. Some of you may say that even Van Gaal is a very demanding coach in training, agreed, but just look at the number of injuries that occur during training sessions under Van Gaal… There have been numerous reports of players being frustrated with LVG’s training methods, but the Spurs players seem to be enjoying the intense training under Pochettino. Clearly Mauricio Pochettino is doing something right then. Unlike with Mourinho, the United hierarchy appreciate the way Pochettino manages his players. He is also someone who isn’t afraid to give youngsters a chance (Harry Kane, Alli, Mason, Eric Dier etc), that is a quality that the United fans would love to see.
CONS: Even though Pochettino is doing very well at Spurs, and he also did a fantastic job at Southampton prior to this, he is still lacking in one major department- Trophies. He is no doubt very talented, but he is yet to win a title in England. So…. very talented but short in the silverware area, sounds a bit too similar to David Moyes doesn’t it!?! He will have to change his mentality and attitude a bit if he is to manage a club the size of United, which isn’t beyond him.
Personally I think that Pochettino is a brilliant manager, but he just needs a couple of trophies (doesn’t matter whether it is the FA Cup or the League Cup) before taking the next step in his managerial career.
3. Ryan Giggs: The current number two at the club under Van Gaal, Giggs seems to be destined to become the main man at United. Almost everyone associated with the club share this thought, and he seems ready to take on the challenge.
PROS: Ryan ‘Giggsy’ Giggs is a United legend. He is such a big character and influence that the previous sentence somehow feels like an understatement! The respect that he commands is phenomenal. There is an aura about him. He seems to have the backing of the board members, the current manager and even the former manager. And like Mourinho, he too can bring in big name signings (maybe someone like a Gareth Bale, who idolizes Ryan Giggs). If he were to succeed Van Gaal at United, it would be like a dream come true for the fans as well as for Giggs himself! He is somebody who understands the club inside-out. He knows that the way United are currently playing isn’t ‘United’ enough. The free-flowing football with wave after wave of attack is what United are used to, it is what Ryan Giggs himself is used to. And because he was part of an era that was dominated by United, he knows what is needed to bring success, excitement and the ‘fear factor’ back to Old Trafford.
CONS: Ryan Giggs faces a similar problem to Pochettino, he is yet to prove himself at the highest level of management. It might be better for him to go out and take up a managerial job and work his way up rather than immediately take over at United. The transition from player to manager isn’t easy, case in point- Gary Neville at Valencia. Neville is yet to register a win! There is no doubt that he will turn it around, Valencia are good enough to overcome this tough spell, but until that happens there is a lot of pressure on Neville; and the fans of the Spanish giants are letting their feelings known. Giggs may face a similar situation in the beginning if he faces a rough period at the start of his ‘journey’, which is why it would be better if that happened elsewhere rather than at United, considering that he is an icon at the club. Man United fans are probably the most demanding supporters in the world along with the Real Madrid supporters. If Giggs were to ‘fail’ at United right away, there is a risk of the fantastic work done by him as a player to be somewhat overshadowed. Once he gets some experience, he will be better prepared/equipped to deal with complicated situations which any manager is bound to face.
Ryan Giggs is certainly a fan favorite and if he will take over at United, I’m sure he would be a very popular manager as well and he will certainly have the backing of the fans and the club’s hierarchy.
These three managers seem to be the most likely prospects to become the next United manager. They are all very talented and have tremendous potential to turn United into the force they once were.
If you think there are any other managers who are suitable for this job you can let me know by commenting below!
Also you guys can comment below and give your opinion as to who should replace Van Gaal, or whether he should be replaced at all!