Manchester United have identified Mauricio Pochettino and Erik ten Hag as the prime candidates for the manager’s post, reputed journalist David Ornstein reports.
The Red Devils parted ways with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer back in November, but decided against a permanent successor. Ralf Rangnick has been placed on interim charge since early December.
The results were promising during the early weeks under the German, but things have gone pear-shaped over the past month where United have dropped several points in the Premier League.
They are now languishing in the sixth spot in the standings, four points behind fourth-placed Arsenal, who have a game in hand. They can no longer decide their Champions League fate.
Regardless of what happens, Rangnick will continue in his position until the summer, but the hierarchy are already speeding up their quest to appoint a permanent head coach for next season.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Ornstein has revealed that the board are trying to wrap up their managerial process as soon as possible, and ideally want to finalise their new manager by the end of March.
Ornstein added that Pochettino and Ten Hag are the main contenders for the vacancy in no particular order. The Red Devils are also looking at other options ahead of a busy summer transfer window.
He said: “United are trying to wrap up their managerial process as soon as possible. They want to do it in the coming weeks, ideally by the end of March. That’s why they were speeding up the process.”
“They were meeting candidates, whittling down their shortlist and hoping to get a chosen candidate in place as soon as possible so that next manager can be a key part of the decision-making process around squad building for next season and beyond and also the transfer window, which will be crucial to Manchester United in terms of incomings, outgoings.
“They’ll have to presumably build a new coaching team as well. That’s why Mauricio Pochettino and Erik ten Hag, in no particular order, have emerged as the key candidates, and there may be a couple of others too.”
United still have a realistic chance of making the top four of the Premier League. For that to happen, they may need to win their remaining nine games of the campaign.
That would take them to 77 points for the season. In the Premier League era, only twice (Liverpool and Arsenal) have achieved a similar or higher points tally to finish fourth.
Champions League football may not necessarily determine who could take over the hot seat, considering they have already started negotiations with the representatives of various coaches.
The confirmation of a new manager this month would be ideal for the club as they can plan for the summer in advance. The next head coach needs more authority in the transfer market.
United have previously pursued players, who have not quite suited their style of play under a certain manager. Donny van de Beek’s move under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a firm example.
They can’t afford to repeat similar decisions this summer. Rangnick will play a key role in transfer dealings as a consultant, but the new boss should be able to have his own input.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com
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