Bye bye Louis… Top 5 contenders for the United job

It looks like time is running out for Louis van Gaal at Manchester United. But who should take the hot seat? Jonny Swindlehurst runs the rule over his top five contenders

Louis van Gaal played Ashley Young as a centre forward in the second half against Spurs. It’s a statement that needs some time to sink in. Centre forward? I know, it’s ridiculous. Young was actually also used there in last weeks’ under-21s draw with Chelsea. That was confusing enough, but to see him deployed in that position in a must-win second half at the title contenders was just plain ludicrous. LVG, clearly it’s time to go.

It kind of feels like you’re just having a laugh now. Young up front, Martial out on the left, Lingard as number 10 and Mata tracking back against the pace and power of Danny Rose. It’s genuinely embarrassing. And unbelievably confusing.

I think most of us at Old Trafford are now finally convinced it’s over, but what we’re all not agreed on is who should be coming in. Here’s my top five.

1. Ryan Giggs

Ryan Giggs Man Utd Trophy

Status: Employed

No introduction needed. We all loved seeing Giggsy standing on the touchline in his club suit for those few games as manager a couple of years ago. We hope he can do it, but have any of our famed players actually had the managerial success the club needs?


  • United legend – knows the club inside and out
  • Will have the backing of the senior board
  • Will probably have enough sway to attract some big name players
  • Every United fan wants to see him succeed


  • Little to no experience
  • Associated with the current regime that plays Ashley Young at centre forward
  • No United fan wants to see him fail

Likelihood: 85%

2. Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho

Status: Unemployed

Mourinho’s glum face at the Anthony Joshua fight can be put down to one thing. Why haven’t United come looking for his services? Mourinho brings with him Premier League pedigree and gravitas. He gets the club, he’ll get us challenging again, and top players still want to play for him.


  • Three Premier League titles at Chelsea
  • League titles in four different countries
  • Two Champions League titles
  • The balls to take on Pep at City


  • Likes an eye-gouge
  • Doesn’t promote youth
  • Three years seems his limit before leaving in a blaze of thunder

Likelihood: 80%

3. Mauricio Pochettino


Status: Employed

United should probably have been looking at the Argentinian rather than pursuing Spurs’ number one target the summer he joined – LVG. His work at Southampton was exemplary and he’s taken it to the next level at White Hart Lane. We all saw it on Sunday.


  • Plays attacking hard pressing football
  • Promotes youth
  • Proven in the Premier League
  • Young and hungry


  • Never won a title
  • Questionable whether he can attract the very best talent
  • No chance Levy will let him go without a fight

Likelihood: 70%

4. Laurent Blanc

Laurent Blanc

Status: Employed

Larry White is my outside bet for the job. The PSG coach was a top quality player and is very experienced with club and international pedigree. He also gets what the club is all about. Although he didn’t play in the most successful United side, it was still far better than the current squad.


  • Champions League pedigree
  • Experience of managing an international side (France) at the World Cup
  • Gets the club and well liked amongst the fans
  • Experience of handling top world-class players


  • Questionable whether he’s getting the most out of the talent at his disposal in the Champions League
  • Hasn’t managed in the Premier League

Likelihood: 50%

5. Eddie Howe

Eddie Howe

Status: Employed

Let’s go balls out and go for it. Bournemouth coach Howe could be the next big thing. Why not snap him up now? It would be a gamble in what is a precarious position for the club. It could also be an inspired decision.


  • Young and hungry
  • Plays football the right way and sticks to his principles
  • Managed a title winning side (albeit in the Championship)
  • Proved he can do it in the Premier League


  • One Premier League season under his belt
  • No European experience
  • No experience of handling world-class players

Likelihood: 40%

Just as long as Young is never again seen at centre forward, I’d take any of these five.


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