New favourite for Man Utd interim manager role emerges after first choice of five targets pulls out

Date published: Thursday 25th November 2021 2:56 - Dan Burnham

Lionel Messi stands alongside Ernesto Valverde during a Barcelona presentation, 2018

A new favourite for the Manchester United interim manager role has emerged after the first-choice candidate pulled out, according to one journalist.

The Red Devils are looking to appoint a temporary boss within the next few days. A report on Wednesday revealed they had five options on their list for who they could get to lead them through until the end of the season.

And the man who topped that list was 63-year-old Ralf Rangnick. He’s currently working behind the scenes for Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow.

His previous managerial stints with Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig made him an attractive choice.

But talkSPORT presenter Alex Crook has claimed Rangnick will be staying where he is. Word from Russia is that his name will have to be crossed off.

That has moved former Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde to the top, according to Crook. He appears to be the most likely appointment, as per a tweet.

Valverde, 57, has been out of work since January 2020, despite having an impressive managerial CV.

He won the double with Olympiakos in Greece in both the 2008/09 and 2011/12 seasons.

And spells in his native Spain with Athletic Bilbao (twice), Villarreal, Valencia and Espanyol led him back to the club he played 22 times for from 1988-90.

After taking charge of Barca in May 2017 he won two La Liga titles and a Copa del Rey. Ultimately, a poor run of form in the 2019/20 season saw his reign ended.

Valverde was interviewed by United earlier this week. Although he was deemed to be second best to Rangnick, he should be welcomed as a positive appointment at Old Trafford.

Others in the fray are ex-Lyon manager Rudi Garcia, former Borussia Dortmund coach Lucian Favre and previous Tottenham target Paulo Fonseca.

Slower progress for permanent boss

A look at some of the more leftfield Man Utd boss contenders

On the permanent managerial front, United have been told why two of their top managerial candidates won’t take on their “headache” of a role by Thierry Henry.

An official approach for PSG’s Mauricio Pochettino was knocked back by the French club.

And while Pochettino may be keen but unavailable, fellow target Zinedine Zidane seems uninterested despite currently being unemployed.

Arsenal legend Henry has explained why the Red Devils will have to direct their attention elsewhere…

READ MOREMan Utd informed Pochettino and Zidane out of the running with role slammed as ‘headache’


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