Reports suggest that Manchester United now have a four-man shortlist to replace Ralf Rangnick this summer - we examine the runners and riders.
It appears that United are not interested in extending Rangnick's stay as coach, and given the mediocre results since his appointment, he has done little to force the hand of club CEO Richard Arnold to keep him on.
Perhaps that is a blessing for Rangnick, given the club also appear to have no clear plan for what they will do with him for the next two years of his contract, and they also don’t yet have a clear direction about where to go next.
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What they do have is a list. Mauricio Pochettino, Erik ten Hag, Julen Lopetegui and Luis Enrique.
One of them is likely to take over at Old Trafford next season, each of them offering their own advantages and drawbacks.

Mauricio Pochettino (Paris Saint-Germain)

Under Ed Woodward, Manchester United would often go for an easy appointment rather than the right one. Louis van Gaal was out of work when United approached him to replace David Moyes. Jose Mourinho had already long been sacked by Chelsea when the Dutchman was being sent on his way from his duties, and Molde could hardly keep hold of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer when Woodward needed another yes man to step into a crisis.

Mauricio Pochettino is the favourite to become the next Manchester United manager

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Pochettino offers something similar, because few would expect PSG to make a huge song and dance to keep hold of the Argentine after two years of underwhelming performance. An easy signing makes him appealing for United if they want to hit the ground running this summer, but there must be concern that the once highly-regarded coach is into his third year of underwhelming results. Of course, PSG director Leonardo and, before him, Daniel Levy, should take a large part of the blame for that, but it could be another case of United appointing a manager already in decline.
The case for Pochettino is nevertheless easy to make. His best work came when he operated on a budget, and when he developed existing players, and youngsters too, to produce attractive football while remaining defensively organised. If he can repeat the trick, United will be back in the top four, and might even push Liverpool or Manchester City hard for second place.

Erik ten Hag (Ajax)

The Ajax man might as well be Pochettino v2. A manager with a track record of developing young talent alongside talent spotters, who overachieved in Europe but has little to show for it by way of major trophies.

Eric ten Hag

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Yet again, there are mitigating factors. Nobody really believes that Ajax could win the Champions League, but it means that questions are still out on whether Ten Hag can cut it at the very highest level, and whether he would be able to deal with pressure and tomfoolery at Old Trafford. Rangnick has had to focus on firefighting with little time to look at infrastructure of the club, and with John Murtough and Darren Fletcher hardly impressing on the recruitment side so far, there is no guarantee that the Dutchman would have the chance to really make a fist of his chance at United.
With Marc Overmars’ departure in disgrace, there is a sense that Ten Hag might view it as the time to try something new rather than tread water in the Netherlands. That provides United with a chance to exploit.

Luis Enrique (Spain)

Luis Enrique has won the big stuff. La Liga twice and the Champions League once ably continued the success of the team bequeathed to him by Pep Guardiola. He expects technical ability from his team and it was only after he left that Barcelona’s cracks started to properly show.

Luis Enrique Martínez (España)

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There is, though, one question that remains unanswered, and that is whether he can do it without Lionel Messi. In many ways, being able to call on prime Messi is the equivalent of managing on easy mode. His experience at Roma was far from brilliant, and while he seems competent enough, he might not do well at having to rebuild a side that is led by people without hugely incisive football expertise.
He will also have to be tempted away from the Spanish national team at a time that they are preparing for the Qatar World Cup, a tournament they could conceivably manage a strong challenge for. Enrique might find it better to finish the job with his country and then see what options are put his way - United are not the draw they once were.

Julen Lopetegui (Sevilla)

Sevilla are not likely to catch up to Real Madrid in the race for La Liga, especially with a reinvigorated Barcelona now buoyed by the presence of Xavi Hernandez as manager. But regardless, they have shown a consistently impressive level in the Europa League, winning it once under Lopetegui, and could still end the season in second place in the league.

Julen Lopetegui of Sevilla FC during the Liga match between Rayo Vallecano and Sevilla FC at Estadio de Vallecas in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by DAX Images/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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By doing that Lopetegui will have found the kind of rhythm that he managed with the Spanish national team before his time was nobbled by his switch to Real Madrid. That saw him leave the Spanish setup under a cloud, and he was never able to appear credible in the capital, leading to another ignominious exit. A proven big-club failure, there is little reason for him to be considered.
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