Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Ratcliffe in dreamland as top Man Utd manager target eyes Prem return this season, with rival offer snubbed

Former Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui, Man Utd target

Former Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui with Man Utd badge

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has been given a major boost as he looks to kickstart a successful new era at Manchester United, with manager target Julen Lopetegui reportedly gunning for a second Premier League job after rejecting an offer to head to Saudi Arabia.

Wolverhampton Wanderers secured a managerial coup when they managed to land former Real Madrid and Sevilla boss Lopetegui in November last year. In the 2022/23 season, the Spaniard guided Wolves to a 13th-placed finish in the Premier League, as they won 11 of their 38 matches.

However, rumours soon began to circulate that Lopetegui might leave Molineux after just one season. He had become frustrated that the club did not have the funds needed to back him with some major transfers in the summer.

As such, on August 8, Wolves confirmed his departure from the club. They went on to announce former Bournemouth boss Gary O’Neil as his successor, and the 40-year-old has so far done a good job.

With Lopetegui now a free agent, the 57-year-old will be weighing up where to go next in his career. On November 6, it was suggested that Man Utd could offer him the job of manager, with prospective new owner Ratcliffe not fully convinced on current boss Erik ten Hag.

However, Man Utd’s chances of capturing Lopetegui then took a severe hit when it emerged that Saudi club Al Ittihad were hoping to make him their new manager. Intriguingly, such a move would have seen Lopetegui replace another former Wolves boss, Nuno Espirito Santo.

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Spanish outlet AS have now provided an update on the situation. They state that Al Ittihad have been unsuccessful in their approach to snare Lopetegui.

While the coach could have picked up tremendous amounts of money in the Middle East, he is aiming to take over at a truly elite club next.

Man Utd among ‘several teams’ eager to land Julen Lopetegui

AS suggest that Lopetegui wants to return to Premier League management as early as this season, and ‘several teams’ are in the frame to offer him a potential contract.

Man Utd are not specifically named in that group, but it would not be a surprise if Ratcliffe started negotiations with Lopetegui given how the Red Devils have struggled under Ten Hag this campaign.

Man Utd have also been linked with moves for former Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane and Sporting’s Ruben Amorim.

Although, Zidane has already stated that a switch to the Premier League is unlikely, due to him not being fluent in English. Instead, Zidane is better suited to manage Madrid, Juventus or Paris Saint-Germain in the future.

Amorim, meanwhile, has insisted there have been no discussions with Man Utd officials, despite the growing rumours.

Elsewhere, Man Utd, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur have all found out how much they will have to pay to sign a Brighton ace.