‘Anyone but Mourinho’ – six other boss options for Man Utd

Date published: Wednesday 24th February 2016 10:38

Manchester United managerial contenders

With Jose Mourinho looking increasingly likely to be named Manchester United boss this summer, we look at six alternative options the club could consider amid claims the Portuguese is not to everyone’s taste at Old Trafford.

Despite growing claims that Mourinho is to replace Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford this summer, there have been reports on social media that senior figures at Old Trafford are not altogether too amoured by the thoughts of the Portuguese taking the job.

With a lack of viable contenders for the role available, our article earlier this month suggested United should dance with the devil and embrace the appointment of odds-on favourite Mourinho.

However, we look at six other alternative options the club could consider should the club decide against the appointment of the controversial Portuguese coach.

Mauricio Pochettino – current odds 10/1

Mauricio Pochettino: Laughed off Chelsea talk

When the Daily Telegraph labelled the Argentine the ‘perfect fit’ for United last month, they suggested the Tottenham boss’ high intensity pressing game bore legitimate comparison to the core principles Pep Guardiola will bring to Manchester City.

What they overlooked, however, was Pochettino’s willingness to develop young players and promote them within the youth set-up  – something he’s achieved to good success at both Spurs and Southampton before that. United’s academy set-up has endured a shake-up in recent weeks, with more of an emphasis spent on developing youth again, which would make Pochettino – in many ways – the perfect candidate.

However, while United may well like the look of Pochettino – inspite his lack of Champions League experience – there would be serious doubts about whether he’d make what some would perceive as a backwards step by moving to United. They’d also likely meet extremely fierce opposition from Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, who would no doubt do all within his power to keep his man at the White Hart Lane helm.


Diego Simeone – current odds 25/1

Diego Simeone: In no hurry to cut ties with Atletico

“[Diego] Simeone has a release contract at Atletico Madrid, I think they had a look at him before Van Gaal. I can’t quite understand why he hasn’t come into the picture.”

The words of Daily Telegraph journalist Matt Law when speaking to Sky Sports’ Sunday Supplement show this weekend.

It’s easy to see where Law was coming from given Simeone’s success at Atletico Madrid, where he has turned them from La Liga also-rans to serious contenders for the game’s top prizes.

That release contract Law refers to is the £6million compensation fee which would be due to Atletico should United prise him away from the Spanish capital. Hardly big money in the modern game – and a drop in the oceans for the wealth of cash soon to be swilling around in the Premier League.

Simeone’s contract at Atletico – which he signed a year ago and ties him to the club until the summer of 2020 – is worth a reported £4.4million a year – again money that he could easily double, if not treble should he move to the Premier League.

However, the Argentine has shown in the past that he remains completely loyal to Atletico and claims from the coach that “I am here because I’m convinced the club will continue to grow,” don’t offer United much hope of landing the Argentine.


Laurent Blanc – current odds 33/1

Laurent Blanc: Signed a new two-year contract

A former United defender, Blanc’s United appointment odds went on the drift a fortnight ago when he signed a new deal with PSG to commit him to the club until the summer of 2018.

Blanc described the offer of an extension as a “show of faith” from the club’s wealthy Qatari owners and desite Le 10 Sport claiming United had made contact with the 50-year-old to take over the reigns at Old Trafford, a move for Blanc looks increasingly unlikely.

The Parisians, two-time defending Ligue 1 champions, currently boast a 24-point lead at the top of the table, and also hold a narrow lead over Chelsea in their last 16 Champions League tie, and it would seemingly take something seriously special to persuade Blanc back to Old Trafford.


Ryan Giggs – current odds 13/2

Louis van Gaal Ryan Giggs Manchester United TEAMtalk

A United legend. The club’s most decorated player, their record appearance holder with a staggering 963 matches under his belt, and now United assistant manager. But as we’ve seen in the past, the best players don’t always make the best coaches.

His possible appointment has been met with mixed reaction from observers: Bryan Robson describing him as United’s answer to Guardiola; Rio Ferdinand suggesting he’d be a ‘risky choice’.

However, amid suggestions he’s the preferred candidate among United’s hierarchy, (and probably with Sir Alex Ferguson in an advisory role) he does look the strongest rival to Mourinho, despite suggestions that his stock has been soured by his association with the failed Louis van Gaal era.

What does look the most likely scenario, however, is that Giggs continues in his assistant manager’s role, working alongside Mourinho, and with the top job on a promise once Mourinho departs….


Manuel Pellegrini – current odds 33/1

Manuel Pellegrini: Wasn't happy after City's defeat to Spurs

33/1. Why not? An unlikely contender, admittedly, given his association with Manchester City. But this summer, Pellegrini will be a man in demand and the rarest of rare things with the game’s top managers – a ‘free agent’.

Already linked with Chelsea, Juventus and Valencia – a return to La Liga looks like the most likely outcome for the Chilean come the summer. But let’s consider the pros about this: he knows the Premier League, he has Champions League experience, he understands the modern challenges, he’s shown himself happy to promote youth when needed, he’s shown a good eye for a signing, and he’s already based in the area.

The thing that would stick in the craw for many United fans would be the admission that by taking ‘City reject’ Pellegrini, the club would be accepting they now play second fiddle to the team once described, somewhat patronisingly, as their ‘noisy neighbours’ by Sir Sir Alex Ferguson.

But swallow their pride, and United might just find the best contender for their hotseat could be sitting right on their doorstep. Why not indeed?


Jorge Sampaoli – current odds unpriced

Jorge Sampaoli: Should be a candidate for United

A bona fide outsider in our list given no bookmaker is currently offering odds on the Argentine succeeding Van Gaal at United this summer.

However, talk linking the former Chile coach to Chelsea was not deemed massively too far wide of the mark – with Bayern Munich star Arturo Vidal suggesting his former international coach had the “perfect style for the Premier League”.

“He likes speed, he likes pressing, he likes to attack a lot. That is the football you like in England, isn’t it?” Vidal told The Times.

Albeit unlikely, perhaps talk of Sampaoli moving to Old Trafford might just snowball a little, with one TEAMtalk Your Say poster expressing his surprise the 55-year-old tactician handn’t yet been suggested as a contender.


Who should Man United appoint as successor to Louis Van Gaal?

  • Jose Mourinho
  • Ryan Giggs
  • Mauricio Pochettino
  • Laurent Blanc
  • Diego Simeone
  • Manuel Pellegrini
  • Other


Who do you think should succeed Van Gaal? Would Mourinho be the wrong choice? Do any of our other candidates fit the bill? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box, below.


James Marshment

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Home Forums ‘Anyone but Mourinho’ – six other manager options for Man United

This topic contains 39 replies, has 21 voices, and was last updated by  theMartial Art 11 months ago.

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    James Marshment

    With Jose Mourinho reportedly unpopular among senior figures at Man United, we look at six alternative manager options they could consider.

    [See the full post at: ‘Anyone but Mourinho’ – six other manager options for Man United]



    Mark Hughes!



    They are all viable options in one way or another. However, what has to be considered is their style of play. One of the major gripes most fans have with LVG is his boring, boring style of play. How many of these managers would change that. Many would argue that Mourinho wouldn’t.

    Simeone isn’t renowned as a manager with the most exciting style of play (although if given the money he might become more expansive and his teams are very well coached tactically and are able to switch formation and tactics mid-game to stretch defences).

    I’m not sure about Blanc, it’s easy to do well at PSG although he was great for Bordeaux but not brilliant for France.

    Pellegrini is known for attacking football but is dodgy defensively and absolutely hasn’t been able to coach City through the loss of Kompany and defensive injuries seem to be a major problem for Utd at the moment.

    Giggs doesn’t seem to have enough experience of managing at any level, Guardiola had coached Barca’s junior teams before being promoted to the senior squad so despite SAF and Bobby Charlton’s agenda it’s unlikely he’ll get the job.

    I don’t think Pochettino would leave Spurs at the moment and I think Levy would break the bank to keep him. Spurs have been looking for a manager of his quality for years and have finally got their man, I think this one is a no-go.

    Sampaoli is a free-agent like Pellegrini and although his style would apparently suit Utd I’m not sure the board would take a serious look at him.

    It really is a pot luck as to who gets the job, looking at all the ‘candidates’ it’s most likely going to be JM, who plays the same boring football as LVG, oh happy day!



    He is bad for football and bad for the league. Please dont give him another chance to ruin our weekends with his nonsense. Let him go and rot in Serie A or the Belgian league.



    Killboye the difference in JM boring football and LVG’s boring football is JM’s wins you trophies



    Just not Giggs please.



    LVG’s football won trophies up til his time with Man Utd. No guarantees in sport….


    I don’t think the other options stack up to Mourinho. They are all unrealistic or not fit for purpose:

    Ryan Giggs – inexperienced, big gamble.

    Mauricio Pochettino – Good manager but why would he leave Spurs at this point?

    Laurent Blanc – Good manager but why would he leave PSG? Just signed a contract.

    Diego Simeone – Good manager but why would he leave Atletico?

    Manuel Pellegrini – not a very inspiring appointment, he has been average at City given the resources at his disposal.

    Jorge Sampoali – too unproven in top level football club management.

    If Pochettino, Blanc, or Simeone are willing to come I would gladly have any of them but I think is unrealistic pipe dreams – it’s similar arrogance to Woodward making 140 million bids for Neymar and the like. These manager are all happy and are in a comfortable space at their clubs, it’s not being United manager is a “dream job” anymore. It comes with big pressure.

    Mourinho’s CV crushes every option put forward plus it’s obvious he wants the job. The only pitfall is he’s a prat. I really cannot see any argument for not hiring Mourinho except an emotion based argument like killboye is putting forward. If logic prevails Mourinho will be hired.



    Whoever we get, one’s things for sure, Wudwud can’t afford to hire another loser for the sake of his reputation and quite possibly his job too. Therefore, my guess is it will be JM if only for a couple of seasons. He has to get us back winning and able to sign top players again. For all those who think JM plays defensive football, I suggest you look back at the last 3 seasons. It can’t be any worse and the chances are we might win something!


    @killboye. LvG’s last club management gig before United was about 10 years previous. That was always a risk, one I tried to ignore when it was pointed out by the MacGuffin but he turned out to be right.

    There are no guarantees in football but comparing LvG’s success in a different period of football to Mourinho doesn’t stack up.



    LVG won Bundesliga with Bayern in 2009/10. He wouldn’t have been that out of touch


    @killboye. In the same period from LvG’s Bundesliga in 2009/10 Mourinho won the Serie A, the Uefa Champions League, the Coppa Italia, La Liga, the Copa del Rey, the Spanish Super Cup, the Barclays Premier League, and the Fifa Coach of the Year.

    These last few months are the first period Mourinho has not been in a club head coach job for about 15 years.

    Add to that he won the EPL last season – he knows how it’s done.

    I think Mourinho is much more “in touch”.


    @killboye. We are squabbling the small details here. The main thing is you think Mourinho is a bad choice because he is boring and a prat, these preferences are a luxury to me.

    I believe his merits far outstrip his pitfalls so we won’t agree.



    For me it’s more a style of play issue. He is a prat but that’s only recent in my opinion. He used to be brilliant at keeping the spotlight off his players and just let them do their job.
    I don’t know if his magic has worn off a little after the Chelsea fiasco of the last few months. I’m just unconvinced by him at the moment. If he’d come in last year instead of LVG I’d have welcomed him with open arms.


    @killboye. Fair enough mate. There is a valid question of his “magic wearing off” but I would rather look at his history in its entirety.

    I assume Mourinho is a very intelligent man to get this far and that his time away from football has been used reflectively. I think he is well worth the risk but I can’t sit here and say I know for sure he would succeed.



    JM will get you some success but is success in a three year period that important?
    Is it so important that you forget what the club stands for,the dna,the Busby entertainment. Sure we have nothing of it with LVG but two faults dont make one right. I can wait for success if we can develop entertaining football with the right manager. Look no further than Marcelo Bielsa if you want a passionate manager with an entertaining football. Do i think the board will concsider him?
    No,they dont have the guts to do it. BUT they have the guts to have a long term plan to appoint Giggs as the manager,unbelievable stuff coming from the board/Fergie.

    So with a gutless board a well known manager will be appointed in the very near future. Too bad Blanc signed a two year contract with PSG, i think he would be a great managing United.

    An option would be to wait for Blanc and appoint a manager for the two year period. Giggs or JM during the two year period?
    Ehh….You know what you get with JM but no one knows what Giggs brings to the table.



    Zico, the Glazers don’t give a shit about our dna. A more pertinent question would be “is the lack of success in a 3 year period important”!? Just watch the CL games this week and you have your answer. The club is being destroyed by greed and incompetence. The decline started after Rome although we kept winning until the last 3 years. If we don’t start winning soon we will become the new Liverpool if it hasn’t happened already. It’s too late to start planning for the future, that should have been done before Fergie retired.


    Personally, I think the controversy that the egocentric Mourinho creates makes him the ideal manager for Manchester United. I am of the opinion that Mourinho is an unsettled soul who just needs to find a home to really flourish in.

    Alex Ferguson, Cristiano Ronaldo, Roy Keane, David Beckham, Eric Cantona – all either highly opinionated or highly controversial individuals that instilled divide among fans outside of the United faithful, yet we embraced them for their talent and passion for the club.

    Mourinho is talented and he is passionate, plus he wants the United job. I’m tired of watching United chase players who have their eyes somewhere else and are keeping their options open while using our name to increase their pay packet. It’s nice to have someone of Mourinho’s caliber in football who values the Manchester United job over all others – that has to count for something.



    @hailmartial – I think JM valued the Chelsea job above all others. He only values it now because he’s unemployed.



    I have been saying that I dont want Mourinho anywhere near Man Utd since the rumours started, but I am beggining to think that he may be the best choice after all. I am not a fan of his style of play or the way he handles the press etc however considering the position we find ourselves in at the moment and the options available to us, I think he would benefit the club in the short term. I prefer to think about the long term affects at a club, which mourinho would be a bad choice to improve on, but if we did get him he could keep us floating above water for a couple of seasons, winning the odd trophy maybe, which is a start contrast to where we are at the moment, and during that time it would give the board time to concentrate their efforts on improving the long term future of the club as long as we are winning games, competing for trophies and Mourinho doesnt start some kind of pathetic tirade, then the boardroom wont need to worry about the 1st team for a while. If he is as keen for the job as it would seem, that would also stand us in good stead as his enthusiasm could become infectious for other top players to want to join us. My favoured choice would be Poch, and given a 2 or 3 seasons with Mourinho in charge would give Poch time to sort out his affairs with Spurs, win something, improve his abilities or maybe even give Giggs time to prove his worth as a manager.

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