Days after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s dismissal by Manchester United, it appears the Red Devils are closing in on securing a new permanent manager before the trip to Stamford Bridge. Following the Norwegian’s departure, consistent reports have highlighted the club’s preference in acquiring an interim manager before assessing long-term options, to appoint a permanent manager in due course.
According to multiple sources, the Red Devils are said to have settled on a five-man interim shortlist comprising the names of Ralf Rangnick, Ernesto Valverde, Paulo Fonseca, Lucien Favre, and Rudi Garcia. In addition, the club is also reportedly keeping an eye on developments at Paris Saint-Germain as they prepare to pounce upon the opportunity of securing Mauricio Pochettino’s services as the new permanent manger– provided they pay the required compensation (€10mn) to the French club.
The Five-Man Shortlist
Valverde & Rangnick: The Preferred
Although latest reports suggest an appetite for securing an interim manager, many suspect United will hold out for Pochettino over the next couple of days. Provided the club fails in bringing the Argentinian to Old Trafford, former Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde is expected to be the hierarchy’s preferred candidate to work alongside the club’s current coaching staff, on an interim basis, until the appointment of a new permanent manager.
However, Valverde – a proven winner – is likely to, only accept the interim post provided he is promised a shot at the permanent job following the end of the campaign. With the club in desperate need of a renowned coach, it remains to be seen if the Spaniard remains the prime candidate amidst palpable optimism vis-à-vis Pochettino’s arrival.
Despite earlier reports linking Ralf Rangnick – current head of Sports and Development at FC Lokomotiv Moscow – as a prime candidate for the interim role, the German is unlikely to leave his current position, having taken up the job earlier this summer. Moreover, given his demand for an autonomous role at the club, post his interim tenure, according to the latest reports by Alex Crook at TalkSport, Rangnick “…can be scratched off the list to be Manchester United’s interim manager.”
The German is expected to continue at Lokomotiv Moscow, however, a move to United may not be ruled out, provided the Red Devils fail to acquire either Valverde or Pochettino in the immediate future.
Favre, Garcia & Fonseca: The Fall-Backs
Having impressed United’s decision-makers during interviews held over the last 48 hours, both, Lucien Favre and Rudi Garcia could fight it out for the interim position provided the Red Devils fail to appoint their preferred candidate. While the fan base remains sceptical about the aforementioned vis-à-vis their ability to instantly improve the team and results, board officials seem likely to pair either of the options alongside the current coaching set-up – aiming to maintain “stability” in a period of “transition” for the club.
Garcia and Favre, who have tasted success with LOSC Lille and Borussia Dortmund respectively, are expected to remain in contention for the interim role as United prepare to make a move for an appointment in due course. According to Miguel Delaney from The Independent, United officials are said to have been persuaded by Favre, in particular, after the Swiss manager outlined a “system” for the team and laid out a plan to “… nurture certain players”.
Meanwhile, former AS Roma boss Paulo Fonseca, too, is rumoured to be amongst those shortlisted for the interim position. Likely to be down the pecking order, Fonseca remains eager to return to management, having been closely linked with Spurs – a move which eventually broke down – before remaining unemployed since the start of the campaign. However, much like the other interim candidates, Fonseca, too, is only likely to be considered for an interim period with no possibility of a permanent job.
With speculation expected to gain traction over the next few days, Pochettino will most likely remain the preferred permanent option, with Valverde being the frontrunner for the interim job. Provided the Red Devils fails to convince their candidates, it is more than likely that the current coaching team comprising caretaker manager Michael Carrick, Kieran McKenna, Darren Fletcher, and Mike Phelan remain in charge for the remainder of the season until a permanent appointment.