Now the managerial merry-go-round is in full swing following the separation of Jose Mourinho and Chelsea, serious questions will be asked of Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal.
Defeats to Wolfsburg and Bournemouth have piled the pressure on the Dutchman and many are asking whether he really is the right man for the Red Devils.
And while I am not a member of the ‘Van Gaal Out’ brigade, it is always interesting to see who could take the helm should he and United part company.
Here are four names that are constantly in the mix, and one that perhaps should be.
The Welshman may seem like the obvious choice. A club legend. Adored by the fans. Knows what the club is all about. One thing stands in Giggs’ way though. His lack of experience is something that could undermine him should he step into the manager’s chair. Recent interest from Swansea to appoint the former United winger as their boss could provide him with some vital first-hand experience, though it seems unlikely that Giggs would spend a number of years working under United managers on their staff for him to walk away from the club. A fairy tale choice. But perhaps not the most sensible choice.
The not so special one. His recent dismissal from Chelsea means the Mourinho to United rumour mill will likely be back in operation very soon. The Portuguese was one of the bookies’ favourites to take over from Sir Alex before Moyes got the job, and there have been numerous reports quoting Mourinho and his admiration for United. Mourniho and the Red Devils seem a perfect match. Both massive names in the game. Both hugely successful. Both going through a rough patch. Jose has won trophies everywhere he has been, perhaps a place in the Old Trafford dugout would be what he and United need to get back on top, where they both belong.
A man in demand. The Bayern Munich boss is one of the most respected and sought after names in world football. Just ask Manchester City. They’re quite fond of him too apparently. Guardiola has had run ins with United in the past, overcoming them twice during his tenure as Barcelona manager (in 2009 and 2011), so the men in suits at Old Trafford know the Spaniard has the credentials. Guardiola’s longevity could prove a problem though. Four years at the Catalan giants, and he looks set to leave Bayern after three years. Would United really appoint another manager who they know would likely be a short-term fix? Although let’s face it, the short time the Spaniard could spend in Manchester would probably be pretty successful. And that is what United need above all else right now.
Another big hitter whose name has been thrown around. Three Champions League titles to his name proves just how formidable the Italian is in European football. A Premier League and FA Cup double in 2010 during his time with Chelsea also proves his prowess on these shores. Similarly to Guardiola though, Ancelotti is not known for his longevity in recent years. After his eight-year stint with AC Milan between 2001 and 2009, the Italian has spent just two years at his other clubs (Chelsea, Paris Saint Germain and Real Madrid). The same questions will be raised, do United go for the quick-fix?
Bear with me on this one. Blanc has connections to the club, wining the Premier League in 2003, something that United fans hold very dear. He has been successful during his time managing major clubs. One Ligue 1 title with Bordeaux and two with Paris Saint-Germain. Not a bad record. It would also be difficult to question Blanc’s ability to work with big personalities in the dressing room. Anyone who can work with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and not commit an act of assault gets my vote of confidence. It seems strange then that when pundits are throwing round names for Van Gaal’s eventual successor Blanc is rarely, if ever, mentioned.