The post Alex Ferguson era is well and truly underway at Old Trafford and the club this season looks to be in trouble yet again. The David Moyes stint at Old Trafford was short lived and was considered a disaster season. The appointment of Louis Van Gaal was a short term appointment but has brought no sort of long term stability to the club. Reaching the top four last season was considered somewhat of an achievement for the experienced Dutchman but a club in the stature of Manchester United should always be looking more than a top four finish. With the amount of money spent by Van Gaal on what seems a very average group of players almost certainly signals the end of his reign come the end of the season. The excess of 250 million spent during his reign has simply not been good enough. To go out of the Champions’ League group stage after having with respect a very favourable group is unforgivable for a team that has invested so much, and to be outside the top four at this stage of a poor Premier League in terms of the quality of football is simply not good enough. With this Van Gaal should ultimately be grateful he is still in a job at this stage of the season. With this transfer window Manchester United is most likely going to throw even more money at Van Gaal so the importance of getting the right player or players in now becomes crucial.
The Van Gaal ‘philosophy’ has come under much scrutiny this season from fans, the media and well respected former players. The style of football is lacklustre and quite simply the players even now look fed up with this way of playing. Players like Juan Mata and Ander Herrera are struggling to express themselves on the pitch due to the tightrope put on them and even with the recall of Adnan Januzaj from Borussia Dortmund hasn’t created much optimism with the fans as no doubt he will be restricted and unable to express himself on the pitch the way he would like to. Despite the calls for Van Gaal to walk away or to be sacked, this doesn’t look likely as Ed Woodward will yet again have to hold his hands up and admit he has made a mistake. This summer could prove vital for the short term future of Manchester United, the talk of a new appointment and who could be in the frame is already well underway, but there is a big difference for Manchester United in terms of who could and who should take over from Van Gaal.
The current assistant manager at Manchester United and club legend has been an assistant to David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal, so this is not exactly going to be the most popular appointment the club could make. Everything Ed Woodward has done at the club since he took over from David Gill has been fairly lazy so this could yet another decision he could easily make. Giggs is a legend at Old Trafford for everything he done as a player for the club,he cannot be disregarded but he does not look in the position to take the helm at such a massive club. His lack of managerial experience is certainly an issue and should really consider going elsewhere to build up the experience, the vacant Swansea position looked ideal for Giggs to go in and make a name for himself as a manager. The appointment of former players to managers is a common theme, but the realistic success from this is minimal and appointing the Welshman could ultimately tarnish the reputation he built at Old Trafford under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Since announcing that he wanted to manage in the Premier League, the Guardiola talk has increased even more than it has been over the last two seasons. The majority of the speculation is that Guardiola would take over at Manchester City, but surely if he is in the market Manchester United need to actively pursue the Spanish manager. At the young age of 44 for as manager, Guardiola does have many years ahead of him in management if he wanted to and has already achieved so much as a manager at Barcelona and Bayern Munich respectively but a move to Old Trafford looks more of a daunting task for the talented coach. Tactically he is top class but his previous clubs has had the players already in place to follow through his tactics, Guardiola would need to really to bring his own squad of players to Manchester United which ultimately would be a massive challenge considering their current group. Manchester United right now might look too big of a job to do going by Guardiola’s short history so a move to Manchester city looks most likely at this stage.
There can be no doubting the managerial ability of Mourinho; it is everything else you get with him that would be the ultimate problem with his appointment. The Manchester United fans ultimately made themselves heard after Mourinho was sacked by Chelsea, with the chants and signs for this appointment. The success Mourinho has had everywhere he has been, would be positive for the club, but would the style of play change massively from what they are seeing now, most likely not. Can Mourinho actually build a squad from what the club has already got; again from his history it would be unlikely. Mourinho is possibly the best short term option available to the club right now, but longevity is not part of plan if Woodward and the board appoint the Portuguese manager.
Perhaps somewhat of an outside option for the club to consider but would certainly be a popular and respected decision amongst the Manchester United fans. Patience would have to be a key part of the system at Old Trafford if they were to go down the path of appointing a manager in the mould of Mark Hughes but certainly he has worked hard enough for a chance. Hughes is now 52 and looking at the jobs he has experienced as a manager he would certainly be considered under-rated, the only bad showing he produced at a club was at QPR and with respect at the time that job was seemingly impossible. Looking at his current Stoke squad, they possess a very threatening forward line, and Hughes has them playing good football from back to front. A popular figure still with the Manchester United fans from his time playing at the club a move to manage them would still look a bit too far but certainly an option the board should consider. Many fans and pundits would still question the decision to sack him from the biggest job he has had at Manchester City, since then though he has worked hard and deserves his chance at a bigger club again.
There will undoubtedly be talk of more managers who could possibly take over at Manchester United from now till the summer but Van Gaal does have another year left on his contract, so ultimately the fans may face another season with him at the helm.
Recent speculation has linked the popular Mauricio Pochettino with a possible move to Old Trafford. Diego Simeone could be another name who will be linked with the club especially with Chelsea circulating the Athletico Madrid manager. Antonio Conte has expressed a desire to return to club management, could he be an option for the club? The current Villarreal manager Marcelino has been linked in Spain with a move to a top club in Europe, could he be another alternative for United. Ronald Koeman is another name who could be linked with clubs over the summer; could he find himself in the frame? There are options available to the board of Manchester United, the real question for them and the club is how quickly they want success back.