Manchester United have finally done it: they’ve finally sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The news broke on Sunday morning that Solskjaer had finally been given his marching orders by the club after yet another embarrassing Premier League defeat – this time at the hands of Watford.
With Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo arriving at Old Trafford to build on the steady progress of the last two seasons, this was supposed to be United’s triumphant return to the upper echelons of English and European football after so many years of underachievement.
But that isn’t the way it has gone. For all the talent in the squad, United have struggled to perform and most of the games that have been won so far have been scraped through.
Despite how bad things have been, a managerial change shouldn’t signify the start of a brand new era for the club. There has been considerable development under the Norwegian over the last three years and United have only recently got back on the right track with a longer-term picture in mind after previously lurching from one conflicting regime to the next.
Here’s a rundown of coaches that have already at least loosely been linked to the job…
7. Julian Nagelsmann
Current status: Bayern Munich head coach – contract until 2026
Still only 34, Julian Nagelsmann is one of the top rated coaches in Europe. But this would been vastly more feasible had he not been poached from RB Leipzig by Bayern Munich in April.
His coaching methods and record of developing players would be a good fit for United, as well as having a personality big enough to rise to the job – have you seen his dress sense? But Bayern invested heavily to get him and he is extremely unavailable for now, unless it goes disastrously wrong.
6. Erik ten Hag
Current status: Ajax head coach – contract until 2023
Erik ten Hag has enjoyed tremendous success with Ajax in recent years, guiding the club’s latest golden generation to within a kick of the 2019 Champions League final.
The Dutchman is well accustomed to a club that prioritises player development and preaches an overarching philosophy, which is exactly what the Old Trafford hierarchy have tried to re-implement in Manchester over the last three years.
5. Zinedine Zidane
Current status: Unattached
It is not a building job at Old Trafford. United’s squad is already largely in place and Zinedine Zidane earned a reputation as the ‘great enabler’ when he transformed a Real Madrid side that had underperformed under Rafa Benitez into three-time back-to-back Champions League winners.
His presence could also be a big boost for Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Paul Pogba. What’s more, he is unattached and therefore available. The big downside is that he is widely thought to be holding out for the France national team job.
4. Thomas Frank
Current status: Brentford head coach – contract until 2023
Thomas Frank was unheard of in England until arriving at Brentford, initially as an assistant coach, but has been celebrated since guiding the Bees to the Premier League and enjoying an outstanding start to life in the top flight.
The 48-year-old has coached several of Denmark’s junior international teams, developing players and therefore fitting with the United philosophy. He also clearly knows how to get the best out of those at his disposal.
3. Michael Carrick
Current status: Man Utd interim coach
Could we see another Ole Gunnar Solskjaer situation here?
If Carrick can get this Man Utd team firing on all cylinders again in a short space of time it could actually happen.
2. Mauricio Pochettino
Current status: PSG head coach – contract until 2023
Although under contract at PSG until the end of next season, it is feasible to see Mauricio Pochettino out of a job sooner than that if the French giants fail to win the Champions League. He failed to deliver a Ligue 1 title – the club’s bread and butter – when he joined the club in January.
Pochettino has enjoyed success in the Premier League before with Tottenham and United are currently at the next step up from where he came to the end of the road with Spurs.
1. Brendan Rodgers
Current status: Leicester head coach – contract until 2025
90min revealed recently that Brendan Rodgers would say ‘yes’ to Man Utd if/when he is to be offered the job – and that seems like a real possibility considering how many fans he has in high places at Old Trafford.
The 48-year-old is a proper student of the game, has a proven track record of working with young players and improving others, as well as subscribing to a philosophy that would be a continuation of the existing framework that has been put in place at Old Trafford.