What Does the Future Look Like for Manchester United?
We look at the current state of Manchester United Football Club and who could replace Ralf Rangnick as permanent manager in the summer.
Thanks to their ignominious 1-0 defeat at the hands of Atletico Madrid at Old Trafford in the Champions League this week, Manchester United were subjected to another trophyless season. It has been tough for Ralf Rangnick to implement his ideas in such a short time and with such an imbalanced squad, and that has been highlighted by their inconsistent performances. Finishing in the top four is now of paramount importance for Rangnick and his players, as no Champions League football would be a disaster for a club of the stature of Manchester United. With talks of unrest at the club amongst some of the big names in the squad and some players thinking about a future away from Old Trafford, next year could be the beginning of a rebuild of sorts at Man United. According to UK betting sites, United are currently 4/1 to finish in the top four this season, and face stiff competition in the run-in from Arsenal, West Ham and Spurs, showing how far off rivals City, Liverpool and Chelsea have become from United, despite the astronomical figures spent on players in recent years.
Who will the manager be next year?
The sacking of club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left United in the lurch somewhat. It had become very clear that his position had become untenable after a chastening 4-1 defeat at the hands of relegation candidates Watford and five defeats from his last seven games, and that change was necessary. The hiring of Rangnick was met with some scepticism, as the German had not managed a club close to the size of Manchester United, and spent most of the last decade in an executive role at various clubs as opposed to a management one. Still, he is known as one of the true thinkers in football, and he is held in very high regard in Germany, known as the ‘godfather of the gegenpress’. As was previously mentioned, his style takes a long time to put into place, and it was always unlikely that there would be immediate huge improvements. Results have been inconsistent since he joined, and it seems unlikely that Rangnick will be in charge beyond this season, with him expected to move into a consultancy role from the summer.
Club legend Gary Neville said on his podcast in February: “I don’t think he gets the job at the end of the season, come May. I think there was sort of a feeling at the beginning of the season that if he went like that (performing well), then that could happen but that isn’t going to happen. Manchester United will have a new manager next season.” Neville did however say that he is in a good position to advise on who the next manager should be, arguing: “People say he’s a sporting director and he’s a coach but the reality of it is that his position as coach is short term, his position of assisting the club, constructing their new methodology moving forward and their new structure moving forward is a longer-term position for two years. I’d rather him get that right, the short term suffer for the longer-term perspective being right.” He is currently 16/1 to be in charge at the beginning of next season.
For so long, it has seemed that Mauricio Pochettino was destined to be the Man United manager at some point, and while he remains the favourite with the bookies at 6/4, interest amongst the fans has cooled off for a bit. This may be in part due to PSG’s embarrassing choke job at the hands of Real Madrid in the Champions League Round of 16, conceding three goals in the space of 18 minutes to knock them out of the competition the club covets so much. This on top of the fact he failed to win any trophies during his time as manager of Tottenham Hotspur, has led to some fans saying that he isn’t capable of being manager of Manchester United.
The other main candidate for the job for a long time has been Ajax’s Erik Ten Hag, who is 11/4 on. His record at the Dutch club speaks for itself, dominating the Eredivisie and performing well beyond their means in Europe, despite their disappointing exit in the Champions League against Benfica. This season, his side won all six of their group stage matches in a tough group containing Borussia Dortmund, Sporting CP and Besiktas and they are currently top of the league in Holland.
The recent news of the sanctions placed on Roman Abramovich have led to Chelsea’s future being completely up in the air. With a lot of legalities pending, it’s an issue that doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. While there is so much uncertainty around the future of Chelsea, talk is beginning to hot up that manager Thomas Tuchel could be on the way out. Both Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher have suggested that it would be a very smart move by Man United to appoint Tuchel.
When asked during an Instagram live if he would prefer Tuchel over Pochettino or Ten Hag, Neville said: “Well he’s the most certain at the moment I would say, with the fact he’s got recent success in the Champions League and Club World Cup. I thought they were very unlucky not to beat Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final to be honest, the chances they had were unbelievable. So I would be happy with him. And I think he’s done brilliantly the last few weeks handling difficult questions, difficult situation at Chelsea, all the stuff that’s been going on.” When Tuchel was recently asked about the possibility of leaving Chelsea following the news and replied: “There’s no doubt I’ll stay until the end of the season. Absolutely. We just have to wait and we still have to go day by day because everything can change. But as you know the situation is clear, the club’s for sale, and hopefully it will go through to sort things out and give us a perspective.”
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