So, Ole is no longer at the wheel. Having been appointed initial caretaker manager almost three years ago, the Baby-Faced Assassin’s tenure at Manchester United finally came to an end after a thumping 4-1 defeat away to Watford on Saturday.
The fevered question now is, who will take over the Old Trafford hotseat?
Early money has former flame Mauricio Pochettino as the bookies’ favourite to become the Red Devils’ new boss, with the Argentine as short as 2/1 with Unibet to get the job. However, the ex-Spurs and Southampton boss has been strongly linked with Man Utd in the past only to be overlooked, and in all reality, would Poch just up and leave Paris Saint-Germain, with the Les Parisiens already romping away to the Ligue 1 title, and with a decent shot at a second Champions League final berth in three seasons?
Brendan Rodgers is the closest name to Pochettino in the odds pecking order. Priced at 5/1 with BetVictor, PariMatch and SkyBet, the Foxes’ boss has rather lost his glow in the East Midlands of late, with Leicester having slipped into the bottom half of the league table, without a win in a month. Could Rodgers be a on the lookout for a quick exit at the King Power?
Michael Carrick, meanwhile, is set to take charge of the club on a caretaker basis until a permanent manager is appointed, but as Solskjaer’s number two, could Carrick be a longer term target? Solskjaer also found himself in that position, but after three years with very little real progress, could Carrick control the egos in the dressing room, and get the best of Cristiano Ronaldo? William Hill’s 6/1 says he can.
Of the other big names being linked with the vacancy, Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane is 10/1 with PaddyPower, Betfair and BetVictor. Having won the Champions League three years in a row between 2015 and 2018, the Frenchman would be a popular man to take charge no doubt, but if we consider Los Blancos have just relocated back into their new state-of-art Bernabeu in recent weeks, coupled with a resurgence in Madrid club’s fortunes – not to mention the chance to lock horns with new Barcelona boss Xavi – would Zidane turn that down to manage in a league he has never played in?
What of United’s Dutch lineage then? Louis van Gaal’s time in the dugout will perhaps not be remembered fondly, but in Ajax coach Erik ten Hag, United would be in safe hands. In charge of de Godenzonen since 2017, the former steward of Bayern Munich II has seen his stock rise in recent seasons, taking his side to the brink of the Champions League final, and after a transitional stage having sold many of his stars, is now seeing Ajax bounce back to being a major force in Europe again and playing swashbuckling football. Though tied down to a contract until 2023, ten Hag may have trouble turning the job down if offered, and compensation for one of the richest clubs on Planet Football would surely be no issue. Ronald Koeman, meanwhile, fresh from the sack at Barca is another Dutchman linked, but at a far longer and most unlikely 40/1 with SkyBet.
Of the longer odds names being linked, Steve Bruce had his tenure at Newcastle United cut short due to the Magpies takeover, but though Bruce is being linked tentatively – largely in jest – as a former United skipper and huge figure in the dressing room previously under Sir Alex Ferguson, do 20/1 odds with ‘Hills look so extravagant? Having seen his price slashed from as much as 66s with Betfair, Eddie Howe was priced similarly before getting the Newcastle job also. Having stated to The Athletic on Monday also that he could bring the dressing room together again, is Bruce taking charge such a fanciful notion, as least short-term?