Manchester United’ search for a new manager rumbles on. With many names in the hat, Dale O’Donnell counts down those in contention.
Ed Woodward may not be a football man but he knows how powerful super-agent Jorge Mendes is in the ultra competitive world of football.
After months of negotiations over a potential managerial vacancy — on the back of Jose Mourinho’s unemployment status — is the Manchester United vice-executive naive enough to pull out at this late stage?
A surprising piece on Monday night by the respected north-west expert Neil Custis in The Sun suggested Laurent Blanc was a late contender to snatch the United job due to the main issues surrounding club veteran and assistant manager Ryan Giggs.
The last paragraph begs the question, should anyone dare to ask, as to why would Blanc come in as a surprise candidate.
Speculation since Christmas indicated if Louis van Gaal was to face to axe, which we understand is the case regardless of an FA Cup triumph or top four finish, either Mourinho or Giggs would be the main contenders.
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino is also thought highly of by influential board members and several key players, but there is a slim chance of that becoming reality.
After the final FA Cup semi-final victory over Everton, Van Gaal looked like a man resigned to being succeeded this summer. Maybe he’s finally read the writing on the wall and leaving on a high would actually make it easier — achieving fourth and winning England’s most prestigious cup competition.
But getting fourth comes down to United gaining consistency, Arsenal bottling yet another season, and most of us cannot see the former of that sentence happening, which is what matters most to Old Trafford’s hierarchy.
Some of the best media hacks have frequently claimed Mendes and Mourinho are “confident” but nothing is concrete unless it comes from Woodward.
Meanwhile, CV’s in football can be deceiving. Van Gaal has one the majority of football managers dream of, yet it peaks from a previous decade, explaining outdated tactics and methods.
Blanc, on the other hand, has won the notoriously weak Ligue 1, albeit with two clubs, and could potentially be in line for the France job again granted Didier Deschamps fails at the European Champions this summer.
The decision we’re waiting on is in Woodward’s hands, and should his incompetence see Mourinho sacrificed for Blanc, United will pay heavy consequences down the line.