Manchester United have reportedly been given a promise by Zinedine Zidane that he’s willing to take the hotseat at Old Trafford – but there remains some doubt over whether he’ll end up being the man the Red Devils turn to.
Current incumbent Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a man under increasing pressure after a dire run of form. Indeed, just one win in six Premier League games leaves them struggling in the title race. And but for Cristiano Ronaldo’s late heroics, they would also be facing early elimination from the Champions League.
Amid the concern for the manager, reports suggest United’s owners, the Glazers, are strongly considering a change.
Indeed, Zidane, Erik Ten Hag and Brendan Rodgers are all supposedly on the Red Devils’ radar.
As such, reports on Wednesday evening said United’s hierarchy see Rodgers as a ‘credible’ and ‘progressive’ choice.
However, the report in the Manchester Evening News claims ‘it is still unclear when the club intends to sack Solskjaer as they mull over an arrival time for a replacement’.
And with no timeline in place for Rodgers, the name of Zidane refuses to go away.
Indeed, reports in the last week said United have reportedly made their move for the Frenchman. And it’s said he’s willing to accept the job on the proviso it will be at the end of the season.
That’s a view that BILD journalist Christian Falk shares. He confirms United ‘had the idea of Zinedine Zidane as new manager’. However, following talks, he claims the 49-year-old ‘let the board know that he doesn’t feel ready for the Premiere League at the moment and prefers to take a break until summer’.
However, his unwillingness to discuss the prospective vacancy now could in fact hinder his prospects. And with the Glazers still leaning towards Rodgers as their No 1 choice, Zidane may only be their ‘back-up option’.
As well as having a preference for Rodgers, the Glazers have another small nagging doubt over Zidane – his lack of English.
As per Emmanuel Petit, his former France teammate is in the process of taking lessons.
Man Utd may be right to stick with Solskjaer
Man Utd may well be right in sticking with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
“If you are a manager of a football club you need to speak different languages,” Petit told bookmakers.co.uk, via the Manchester Evening News. “I know Zinedine speaks different languages but I’m pretty sure English is not one of them.
“There are so many examples of wrong decisions in football. Not necessarily the wrong decision about someone’s ability, but about the dressing room being a right fit given all the different nationalities.
“Communication is very important. If you do not speak the language when you arrive at a club like Manchester United, that could be a big problem.
“I’ve been told that he has been learning English recently, so I think he knows it’s important for his career. But Zinedine being linked with Manchester United – I don’t believe it, to be honest.
“Of course, he’s a big name but he never played in the Premier League. He has very little connection with it, so as I said, I don’t believe it.”
Woodward addresses Man Utd issues
United chief Ed Woodward, meanwhile, insists on-field success is the “top priority” at the club.
Speaking alongside the release of United’s latest financial results, executive vice-chairman Woodward spoke out on the situation.
He said (via ESPN): “While these financial results today demonstrate our resilience through the pandemic, our top priority is success on the pitch.
“The manager, players and everyone at the club are determined to achieve that objective.”
United revealed that revenues have increased by 16 per cent to £126.5million. That change mainly comes because of supporters returning to Old Trafford.
United’s next game is against Watford in what will prove a huge game for Solskjaer. Nothing less than a win will do.