Manchester United’s five-man manager shortlist including Ten Hag and Pochettino

Manchester United's five-man manager shortlist including Ten Hag and Pochettino

Manchester United’s search for a new manager is now well underway.

The Manchester Evening News understands United are stepping up their search for a new manager and that Erik ten Hag was interviewed earlier this week. Club sources have indicated there is no current front-runner for the position but there has been positive noise surrounding Ten Hag, who is under contract at Ajax until 2023, following initial talks regarding the role.

United remain open-minded to all candidates as they continue the process of appointing a new manager to succeed Ralf Rangnick and four other names are understood to be admired at Old Trafford. Mauricio Pochettino, Luis Enrique and Julen Lopetegui are all candidates that are being actively considered, but how much do you know about the names linked with the job?

The MEN have profiled each of the managers that could potentially end up on the Old Trafford touchline next season.

Mauricio Pochettino

Pochettino has been linked with the United job ever since his relative success with Tottenham during his five-year stay in London.

The 50-year-old finished second in the Premier League with Tottenham in 2017 and led the club to the Champions League final – they fell short against Liverpool – two years later in 2019, meaning he crucially failed to win a trophy throughout that period.

Pochettino was appointed as Paris Saint-Germain boss in January last year and his side were beaten to the Ligue 1 title by Lille in what was considered by some as a major failure. Although PSG are on track to win the title this season, they were dumped out of the Champions League Round of 16 by Real Madrid after gaining a two-goal advantage across the two legs.

PSG have been previously reluctant to allow Pochettino to leave the club – United sent enquiries after in October but they were rebuffed – but their recent poor results might change their stance.

Pochettino is contracted until the summer of 2023 and PSG would need to be heavily compensated for his departure.

Julen Lopetegui

United fans should know all about Julen Lopetegui after Sevilla beat the Reds in the 2020 Europa League semi-final.

Sevilla went on to win the competition that season, beating Inter Milan 3-2 in the final to continue their specialist Europa League record, and that piece of silverware was actually the first major honour of Lopetegui’s career.

Lopetegui, 55, had a two-year stint in charge of the Spanish national side, which ended in controversial fashion when it was announced he would take over at Real Madrid upon the expiration of his contract.

The Spaniard lasted just a few months at Madrid but he’s since found redemption with Sevilla. Lopetegui’s Sevilla were knocked out of the Europa League by West Ham last week, but they sit second in La Liga and he’s an interesting candidate.

Lopetegui is contracted until 2024 with Sevilla.

Erik ten Hag

Ten Hag has been the first known interviewee for the United job and he’s been heavily linked with the role, like Pochettino.

The Dutchman made it to the Champions League semi-final with Ajax in the 2018/19 season, only to be knocked out by a late, dramatic goal from Pochettino’s Tottenham in Amsterdam. Ten Hag’s team was soon dismantled but he’s impressively built again.

Ten Hag is thought to currently be the leading candidate and the fluid, attacking and exciting football that the 52-year-old has achieved on the pitch with Ajax is thought to have won him many admirers from those within Old Trafford.

The Ajax boss has two years left on his contract but it’s understood only a small compensation package would be needed.

Luis Enrique

Luis Enrique is the most decorated manager under condieration after his success with Barcelona, where he won the Champions League, two La Ligas, two Cope del Reys and the FIFA Club World Cup, so he certainly has the pedigree.

However, Enrique would perhaps be the most difficult candidate to persuade to take the United job. He’s currently in charge of the Spanish national side and he’s set to lead his nation to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in December.

Enrique should be available after that but that’s too late as far as United are concerned.

Thomas Tuchel

 

There is uncertainty surrounding Chelsea and that has led to speculation around Thomas Tuchel’s future at Stamford Bridge.

Tuchel appeals to United but any move to Old Trafford seems unlikely at present. Tuchel and Rangnick have a healthy relationship and that could help in any future talks, but as things stand, the German will remain in London with Chelsea.

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