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Bookmakers have installed Paris Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino as the favourite to succeed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as Manchester United boss.
Solskjaer was finally relieved of his duties after a difficult start to the season that has left him on the brink of departing for much of the campaign. He was put out of his misery in the aftermath of United’s embarrassing 4-1 loss to Watford, having previously survived home drubbings against their biggest rivals in Liverpool and Manchester City.
Michael Carrick will take temporary charge, starting with their crucial Champions League fixture away to Villarreal on Tuesday night that could be a defining night in their European campaign.
There have been early reports that United will look to hire an interim manager on a short term deal until the end of the season before then hiring a permanent manager in the summer. While it will give them a greater window to get the man they want, it is hard to ignore the feeling that this will ultimately prove to be another wasted season at Old Trafford.
What’s more, should the interim manager perform well, how will they then wave goodbye to them in pursuit of a new name? United were seduced by Solskjaer’s initial impact in the wake of Jose Mourinho leaving, being publicly pressured by supporters and pundits such as Rio Ferdinand’s now infamous post-PSG endorsing, rallying speech.
This appointment is critical for the football club, which has ultimately become a target of mocking from opposition fans for much of the season.
PSG manager Pochettino is the early favourite to take over having reportedly expressed an interest in taking the job should United make an approach to the Ligue 1 club. Pochettino notably met Sir Alex Fergsuon for a lunch in Mayfair back in May 2016 and the Argentine is believed to be unhappy with the club culture at PSG.
On paper, it’s fair to say it doesn’t look like a Pochettino team. His teams at Southampton and Tottenham were renowned for their intensity both in and out of possession, something which can’t be said of superstars such as Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. They are an awkward fit and Pochettino’s failure to capture the Ligue 1 title last season did not go down with the club’s hierarchy.
The role of Zinedine Zidane in all of this is just as critical. There is mutual admiration between him and PSG’s Qatari owners and that could potentially allow a switch that would be far less messy than Pochettino forcing his way out mid-season. If that doesn’t happen, they could still try and wait for the end of the season for the Argentine with an interim manager in place for now if they really feel he is the man to take them to the next level.
Below are the current odds for the next permanent Manchester United manager, with odds supplied by Paddy Power.
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Next Manchester United Manager Odds
- Mauricio Pochettino – 5/6
- Michael Carrick – 4/1
- Brendan Rodgers – 6/1
- Erik ten Hag – 8/1
- Zinedine Zidane – 14/1
- Laurent Blanc – 20/1
- Ralf Rangnick – 20/1
- Steve Bruce – 20/1
- Darren Fletcher – 25/1
- Diego Simeone – 33/1
Pochettino The Best Fit?
Pochettino’s previous work at Tottenham would suggest that he is a strong fit for the Old Trafford vacancy. Unlike Solskjaer, he is renowned for his work on the training ground and thoroughly improved a number of young players at White Hart Lane such as Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Heung-Min Son.
That would fit well with a United squad that has precocious young talents including Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Jadon Sancho that could be taken to a new level if they were guided by an elite coach. Pochettino is priced at 5/6 to take the job and it looks a good fit on paper, although he may have similar issues to what he has experienced in big personalities such as Paul Pogba and Cristiano Ronaldo in what is a bloated squad, particularly in attacking areas.
Michael Carrick is 4/1 at the time of writing and will have every chance of getting the job if he performs well, just as Solskjaer did. The United board were swept up in the emotion of Solskjaer’s time in charge and who’s to say that romance won’t sway their judgement once again.
Brendan Rodgers was initially made the favourite for the Manchester United job prior to Solskjaer’s sacking, but his odds have since drifted out to 6/1. It is a pretty big price given the noise from Old Trafford about his admirers from within the club, although his stock is currently at a low given Leicester’s poor start to the season.
They are 12th in the table and eight points off the Champions League places already, while his links to Liverpool will undoubtedly give him a much shorter fuse than what Solskjaer was afforded despite his track record of doing excellent jobs at Celtic and Leicester.
Ajax’s Erik ten Hag has stated that he is solely focusing on his team and won’t leave during the middle of the season, which could open the door for a move for him to come after an interim boss has left. The 8/1 shot is surely the candidate the exiled Donny van de Beek is praying to see come through the door.
Zinedine Zidane has fallen to 14/1 after seemingly distancing himself from the job with the language barrier playing a huge part, while possible interim choices Laurent Blanc, Ralf Rangnick and Steve Bruce are all at 20/1.
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