Laurent Blanc, Wayne Rooney, Mauricio Pochettino & Zinedine Zidane: runners and riders after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sacked
We look at the contenders to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after the Norwegian was relieved of his duties following almost three years as Manchester United boss. The Old Trafford club intend to appoint an interim manager to take them through to the end of the season with Laurent Blanc reportedly on their radar.
‘Honoured’ – Solskjaer says it was a privilege to be Manchester United manager
Laurent Blanc was considered as an interim option following the departure of Jose Mourinho in 2018 and reports suggest the Frenchman will once again be considered now.
The former defender, who played for Manchester United between 2001 and 2003, is currently in work as Al-Rayyan manager in Qatar and has significant managerial experience at the top level having been Paris Saint-Germain and France boss in the past.
Michael Carrick, who was a member of Solskjaer's coaching staff, will take charge of Manchester United's Champions League fixture against Villarreal on Tuesday and could still be at the helm against Chelsea too.
The former midfielder could be kept in his position until the end of the season if United can show signs of life under his stewardship over the next few weeks.
According to reports, Ralf Rangnick would be open to the idea of taking over as interim manager at Manchester United, but only if he is guaranteed a position in a front office role as a Director of Football or similar.
Rangnick did a similar job well on two different occasions for RB Leipzig and would be a shrewd hire that suggests United are willing to change their ways after years of being criticised for their lack of sporting structure.
Michael Carrick will continue to assist Ole Gunnar Solksjaer
Image credit: PA Sport
If Manchester United are going down the route of hiring a former player to get fans back onside again, Wayne Rooney is surely a name on their shortlist.
The 36-year-old is currently making a managerial name for himself as Derby County boss. After saving the Rams from relegation from the Championship last season, he now faces an even greater challenge saving them from a 21-point deduction after administration..
Erik ten Hag
A man in demand having led Ajax to two league titles, as many Dutch Cups and kept the team punching above its weight in the Champions League.
Ten Hag has been able to keep Ajax playing attractive, attacking football despite watching most of the players who spearheaded the club’s run to the 2018-19 Champions League semi-finals depart in the last two years.
This season the Dutch champions have won three out of three in the Champions League while scoring 11 goals and beat Borussia Dortmund 4-0 last week.
He would appear to align with the attacking philosophy that is demanded at United and one player who may well be hoping for a reunion with the Dutchman is his compatriot Donny van de Beek, who excelled under him at Ajax but has been seemingly frozen out by Solskjaer.
Like Conte, though, Ten Hag does not like switching clubs midseason and rejected an approach from Bayern Munich at a similar point in the campaign two years ago.
Without doubt turning to Potter would be a bold move, and in truth one that may come too soon for the Brighton and Hove Albion boss.
Potter, who took Östersund from the fourth tier of Swedish football into the Europa League, has yet to win any silverware in English football but following two full seasons at Brighton his methods are starting to get results.
Brighton currently sit fifth in the Premier League having won four of their opening nine matches and play a positive brand of football that would sit well with the United support.
However, Potter is unlikely to be many United fans’ first choice for the role and it is no guarantee that a coaching CV that consists of Östersund, Swansea City and Brighton would win over a star-studded dressing room either.
Graham Potter is attracting plenty of attention following Brighton & Hove Albion's impressive start to the season
Image credit: Getty Images
Another potential appointment that wouldn’t go down well with everyone at Old Trafford given his links to Liverpool, Rodgers would undoubtedly be an upgrade on Solskjaer in terms of coaching.
Having led Swansea into the Premier League and earned a move to Anfield, Rodgers almost ended Liverpool’s long wait for the Premier League title in 2014.
Rodgers failed to win a trophy in his three and a half years at Liverpool but rebuilt his reputation at Celtic, where he won two trebles and was on course for a third when he agreed to replace Claude Puel at Leicester City.
Last season Rodgers led Leicester to their first FA Cup win and followed that up with the Community Shield in August.
He has forged an impressive team in the east Midlands that ran United ragged at times during their recent 4-2 win at the King Power Stadium.
By many accounts, Manchester United's original post-Jose Mourinho plan was to have Solskjaer as interim manager until the end of the 2018/19 season when Mauricio Pochettino would be approached to take over.
The spectre of the Argentine hung over Solskjaer for much of his time as United manager, but ironically, with a vacancy now open at Old Trafford, Pochettino is in employment at Paris Saint-Germain.
However, the 49-year-old has faced scrutiny in France and has even toyed with a return to the Premier League, with Tottenham Hotspur making an approach for their former manager before appointing Nuno Espirito Santo in the summer.
Pochettino is proven in the Premier League, even if he failed to win a trophy during his time at Spurs. He would surely be a popular appointment.
Having left Real Madrid at the end of the 2020/21 season, Zinedine Zidane would be a logical target for Manchester United given that he is available and is one of the most successful managers of recent times.
Zidane, a three times Champions League winner as a manager and a Ballon d'Or winner as a player, would arrive at Old Trafford with a big reputation and with an aura.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphael Varane both played under Zidane at Real Madrid while Paul Pogba is believed to have a good understanding with his countryman.
However, Zidane was frequently criticised for a perceived lack of tactical nous in Spain. If Manchester United want someone with a greater understanding of the mechanics of the sport after three years under Solskjaer, Zidane might not be the right man for the job.