As Manchester United fans recover from the demoralising news of Pep Guardiola’s imminent arrival at their city rivals, their minds must occasionally wander to what might have been.
In quiet moments they must dream of possession football that would result in goals or even the odd attempt on target. The team would play with the purpose of breaking down the opposition rather than attempting to bore them into submission. Top quality players would be attracted to come and play for the club under the tutelage of the best manager currently plying his trade in the world.
Instead the harsh reality is that their biggest rivals will now enjoy all of the above as United fans endure the tedium of Louis Van Gaal’s Red Army.
Despite the public backing Van Gaal has received from the United board it seems unlikely that the Dutchman will survive past the summer and with the best manager in the world now taken, the question of who is the man to take over from Van Gaal becomes even more difficult to answer.
The most obvious solution is Jose Mourinho.
If United fans want entertainment, then Mourinho going head to head with his arch nemesis would without doubt wake them from their current slumber. However, Mourinho’s character must be the deal breaker in this proposed marriage. Although success follows him wherever he goes, so too does controversy and unrest. When it came to replacing Alex Ferguson, the United board were thought to be against appointing Mourinho for those very reasons. Also as the United fans are currently crying “Attack, Attack, Attack” from the stands, it is extremely unlikely that the pragmatist that is Mourinho is the man to deliver the attractive style of play they crave.
The only other current contender to replace the present incumbent is his right hand man Ryan Giggs.
With 963 appearances, 168 goals and 34 trophies over a 23-year period, he is the most decorated player in the clubs history, but does this qualify him to take over as manager?
Those advocating Giggs promotion to the top job point to his knowledge of the club and his legendary status with the fans, but can the same not be said of Roy Keane, Mark Hughes and Steve Bruce?
At least that trio have prior experience of managing a club.
Giggs backers also point to the example of Guardiola, a club legend who was given the top job. However, they miss the fact that Guardiola had at least managed Barcelona B for a season in which they achieved promotion. He was also taking over a team that had won the Champions League two years previously and had been to the to the semi finals of the same competition a couple of months prior to his appointment. The squad he inherited contained the likes of Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and Eto’o.
Giggs would definitely not be taking over a team in such a healthy condition and his ability to deal with the management of a enormous club like Manchester United and their current predicament is completely unproven.
If Ryan Giggs is the only answer to United’s problems, it’s time to start asking different questions.