13 Possible Candidates To Replace Moyes + Why Van Gaal Is The Wrong Man For The Job

By on April 23, 2014

With Manchester United working hard to find a new manager following the dismissal of David Moyes on Tuesday, United fan Rory James looks at 13 possible candidates and explains why Luis van Gaal isn’t the man for the job.

Jurgen Klopp

On an overcast Easter Monday David Moyes was sat at home on his day off. He wasn’t stuffing his face with chocolate, nor was he nursing a hangover from a heavy Sunday in the pub. He was in fact, like the tenacious hard-working manager he is known as, hunting for the crucial eggs that would transform his squad over the course of the summer and resurrect Manchester United to their perch-knocking off status they’ve held so proudly for the last two decades.

Meanwhile however, with murmurings amongst the most respected British journalists and Twitter on meltdown (as it inevitably is with anything to do with Manchester United) it became increasingly clear that the Bank Holiday would merely be the beginning of extended time-off for the workaholic Scot.

Before he even got his marching orders the next morning, in a farce that ensured Woodward and the Glazers held none of the “honesty and integrity” that the @ManUtd Twitter account attributed to Moyes, his potential successors were being touted, namedropped and dismissed with the sort of bravado that suggested that the problem was a simple fix. But alas, it’s obvious that it is nothing of the sort.

Jurgen Klopp

Let’s start with the outright fans’ favourite. The likeable, maverick and bold hipster Jürgen Klopp. The man has a mystique around him like very few other managers (or human beings in fact), his success at Dortmund is unquestionable and his loyalty to clubs he declares his love for is one that any fan tired of Wayne Rooney’s antics would crave for just a little taste of. However it is for that exact reason that the deal seems unlikely, perhaps even impossible, with the 46-year-old already having ruled himself out of the job. Despite this, with Ed Woodward’s natural charm and formidable negotiating skills which were illustrated so profoundly in the transfers last summer, who knows? (This by the way is an attempt at a joke; call it the lowest form of wit if you will).

Luis Van Gaal

Next the frontrunner, Mr Van Gaal. The Dutchman has an impressive pedigree behind him, seven league titles, a Champions League, a UEFA cup and ten other trophies, not to mention securing a league title at each club he’s managed. He’s also clearly illustrated his intent, perhaps desperation, to manage in the Premier League and is backed by United starlet and fellow countryman Van Persie.

But is that enough? Van Persie’s long term future at Manchester United is hardly certain, particularly after such a blunt season (fallen out with Moyes or not) and it is the other players I’d be more concerned about.

It seems clear that Moyes lost the dressing room, be it his wavering results, weak press conferences, man management or uphauling of the staff, ultimately he could not motivate, the albeit somewhat feeble and tired, Manchester United squad to rise to any of the games against their fiercest rivals. However what would suggest Van Gaal to be better? The man who infamously dropped his shorts at Bayern to prove he had the biggest balls is notorious for his hardline approach that would unsettle even the tamest of players.

His arrogance and autocratic style is known throughout Europe, and as for the clear, definitive playing style and philosophy the fans desire, well it is one that he would take time to find and who knows if he would even be given that time? At Bayern he tried out a number of different formations in attempts that seem almost akin to Moyes’ let’s-try-crossing-this-week-tactics. Plus, his last club post he managed to not only alienate the players but the fans too, finishing in 3rd with a side that would remain largely unchanged two years later when they emphatically won the Champions League in 2013. Finally, to cement my position, as current Netherlands manager he would not be able to start until after the World Cup which is far too late with the club not being able to afford another ‘transition’ season like this year.

Diego Simeone

Simeone is having a really rather wonderful time at Athletico and it seems he could be a good choice, yet he is a manager who has managed seven clubs since 2006 and consistency is something Manchester United are most concerned about. Or were, it seems. His counter attacking football would delight Manchester United’s faithful and his ambition is second to none. Yet he still somehow remains a slight unknown quantity for some, so infamous and erratic as a player he doesn’t scream stability when United crave it so. Nor does he speak fluent English, which is inevitably a concern at a club that still relies on a large British contingent and has been proud of this for many years. He would be a risk and the question is whether the board are willing to take yet another risk after Moyes’ failings?

That’s not to say he would even go, the Athletico obsessed man seems to be building a bit of a dynasty there, why leave before you truly break El Classico?

So we are left with ‘the others’ the slight outsiders and the Tony Pulis’. Another joke, forgive me.

The Others

So soon there’s a narrowing group left. Giggs? Short term yes, but permanently? He’s completely unproven and has no experience as a manager and as I’ve just stated, a risk is not an option. They have to get it right. Which is why my personal favourite Rudi Garcia, the explosive attacking-minded Frenchman breaking records at Roma (the good ones, unlike Moyes, bless him) is a no-go, again too much of a risk. ‘Tis but a shame.

Ancellotti? Could be a nice fit but he’s unlikely to be a long-term solution, and it seems that’s what the club want, and indeed need. Ah yes, the previous head-kissing legend Laurent Blanc could be an option. But he’s hardly blown the world away at PSG, a club who have near Manchester City type funding at their disposal.

Conte is one that is then thrown into the pack but is another of those that could bring unnecessary drama to the club with his previous betting and match fixing scandal in 2011, and somehow he seems too ‘continental’ for Manchester United.

So now the frontrunners are pretty much ruled out, who is left? Well none but scraps of metal on the floor, rusty old irons and a few new toys that haven’t been safety checked yet. Be it Capello (!) or Ole Gunnar Solskjaer none of the remaining candidates really have the capacity to take on the role, nor have they earned it – which was one of the biggest arguments against Moyes. Martinez is one that has been suggested but the Glazers would be wary of going down what would seem like a very similar road, plus Kenwright would no doubt burn the red half of Manchester down if that happened. Or perhaps the whole city itself. Guardiola and Mourinho are going nowhere and no, before you say it, Tony Pulis isn’t interested okay?

There is no clear answer except perhaps the kidnap of Jürgen Klopp. And with Ed Woodward at the helm I’m sure that would end up with him kidnapping a random Shoreditch dwelling bearded hipster instead. Or perhaps even Terry Venables.

But whatever happens, with the World Cup around the corner and the obvious disaster of Moyes having little time to spend with the squad last year (notably turning down the Ozil deal because he hadn’t seen enough of Kagawa) it is clear that things need to get moving, and fast. I only hope the club handle this with far more intelligence and class then they have shown in the previous few days, or indeed over the course of the last summer.

Watch this space, I foresee more bumps in the road ahead. But that’s the only certainty here, isn’t it?

Thanks to Rory for sharing his thoughts, you can follow him on Twitter @RoryJamesWrites.

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