On Tuesday morning, Manchester United announced that they would be parting company with their manager Jose Mourinho after the Portuguese spent three years at Old Trafford.
Mourinho had come under fire following a disappointing season and numerous reported fall-outs with players as the situation came to a head following their lacklustre 3-1 defeat to Liverpool on Sunday.
As the special one departs the Premier League let’s take a look at five potential replacements for Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.
1) Zinedine Zidane
The obvious choice, the “Zidane to Manchester United” rumours have been swirling around since the French man left Real Madrid after winning an unprecedented three Champions League crowns in a row.
Zidane would likely be a popular choice given his incredible European success at Madrid, and the eye-catching brand of football he had the Spanish giants playing, a stark contrast to the pragmatic style United fans have become accustomed to under Mourinho.
The former World Cup winner could also be key in unlocking the potential of fellow French man Paul Pogba, whom Mourinho reportedly fell out with amidst a string of poor performances.
The United job would likely be a much bigger challenge than the one he inherited at Madrid given the players at his disposal, but Zidane’s accolades in his short managerial career thus far certainly can’t be argued with.
2) Mauricio Pochettino
A more than proven commodity at one of the Premier League’s biggest clubs, Pochettino could be the perfect candidate to get Manchester United back on track.
The Spurs boss may have taken the London club as far as he can and could see Manchester United as the ideal place to take that next step up in his managerial career, despite his eternal link with the Real Madrid job.
Pochettino has also done excellently in developing the young players at Tottenham, something that the likes of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Andreas Pereira could seriously benefit from at a crucial stage of their careers.
United need a manager who will put his stamp on a side that so often looks lost and unsure of their identity under Jose Mourinho and Pochettino has shown enough in his spell at Tottenham to suggest that he could be the man to do just that.
3) Antonio Conte
Another with Premier League experience at one of England’s biggest clubs, Antonio Conte has the distinct advantage of already winning the league with the majority of a squad that Mourinho brought to Chelsea.
Although the Italian was eventually sacked by Chelsea, the impact he made in his first season at Stamford Bridge far outweighs the struggles that led to his dismissal.
Conte’s Chelsea dominated upon his arrival setting a then Premier League record for 30 wins out of a 38 game season, as they romped to the league title.
The former Juve man also worked wonders with Chelsea’s defence transforming a once erratic David Luiz into one of the league’s best defenders, the kind of tutelage a number of Manchester United’s defenders could certainly do with.
4) Laurent Blanc
Without a club since getting sacked by PSG in 2016, Laurent Blanc could see a return to Manchester United as the perfect way to come back into management.
The French man had a successful three years at PSG, winning a domestic double and back-to-back trebles in his three seasons, but his lack of European silverware led to perhaps a premature exit from the Parisien club.
Blanc also has a history at Old Trafford having played for Manchester United for two seasons in the early 00s, so despite that being a relatively short period of time one could argue that he already has an understanding of the culture at the club.
Similarly to Conte, Blanc, as a defender could do wonders in helping United’s current centre-back options as well as tempting new blood to the club.
5) Arsene Wenger
An outside bet, but one that isn’t as outrageous as it may seem. Wenger is one of the Premier League’s greatest ever managers and possesses a lot of skills that Manchester United are in dire need of.
Yes, he lost his way at Arsenal towards the end, but that should in no way overshadow the fact that he changed the whole ethos of the club, from the development and trust in his younger players to the eye-catching and attractive brand of football he brought to the Gunners.
United need a manager who will bring attractive football to the club, so who better than one of the true innovators of the style?
Wenger’s ability to spot a diamond in the rough without spending big could also be appealing to Woodward who is surely far from pleased with the money he has recently forked out for players who, for the most part, have failed to impress.
It’s an unlikely appointment, but one that when explored may make more sense that one might think.