Manchester United have begun their hunt for a successor for David Moyes in earnest, drawing up a shortlist and sending out feelers to potential candidates.
United vice-chairman Ed Woodward is leading the search but is drawing on the experience of Sir Alex Ferguson and former chief executive David Gill, who are both board members.
Holland coach Louis van Gaal is the front-runner, but sources close to United say he is only one on a list of candidates that has been drawn up.
The club are looking for a coach with a significant level of experience, which means temporary manager Ryan Giggs will not be among those considered.
Van Gaal is currently on holiday in Portugal, according to reports in Holland, and the 62-year-old will be a free agent after the World Cup.
The Dutchman is one of those on the shortlist, along with Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti.
However, former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon is confident Ancelotti will stay in Spain.
He told talkSPORT: "I believe Carlo Ancelotti will be with Real Madrid next season. He's got a contract. We don't know what's happening with Manchester United.
"It's always a pity when you have to sack a coach. I had that problem with Fabio Capello. Sometimes you have to take those decisions, though. Manchester United's results have not been normal so it's a decision they had to take."
The next Manchester United manager: Those linked with the Old Trafford hot seat
The next Manchester United manager: Those linked with the Old Trafford hot seat
1/10 Jurgen Klopp
Currently the manager of Borussia Dortmund, Klopp coached his team to the Champions League final in 2013. He also delivered back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 2010/11 and 2011/12, despite Dortmund being in the financial shadow of Bayern Munich. All of that was achieved while playing a distinctive attractive style of football. After six years at the club, it could be time for the 46-year-old German to move on, however he has already said he is happy to stay.
2/10 Fabio Capello
The former England manager has coached the likes of Real Madrid, AC Milan, Juventus and Roma. He now resides over the Russian national team who topped their group in qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil to ensure they are at the biggest tournament of them all for the first time since 2002.
3/10 Louis van Gaal
Dutchman Van Gaal will be leading his national side at this year's World Cup in Brazil. He has taken charge of both Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the past and won the Champions League in 1995 with Ajax. In total, he has won over 60 per cent of his 780 games in management and he's made it very clear he covets a position in the Premier League. Heavily linked with Tottenham prior to David Moyes' sacking.
4/10 Sir Alex Ferguson
Considering he's at every game anyway, a switch from the stands back to the dug-out doesn't seem inconceivable for Sir Alex Ferguson. It'd certainly be a popular choice among fans having achieved so much success in his long time in charge. The winner of 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups and two Champions League titles, if there's anyone who can succeed Ferguson, it's Ferguson.
5/10 Frank De Boer
Although his managerial experience is relatively small in comparison to other potentials, he has already shown he can win domestically. Since taking over at Ajax in 2010, in his first job as manager, De Boer has won the Eredivisie in three consecutive attempts, with his team currently well clear at the top of the league this season. Has been regularly linked with the biggest vacancies in Europe.
6/10 Antonio Conte
Winner of the Serie A manager of the year in 2011-12 and 2012-13 after leading Juventus to the title in those seasons, as well as a Champions League winners medal to his name as a player, Conte has pedigree. Since taking charge in Turin three years ago, the Italian has returned Juventus to the dominant force in Italy, with the club destined to win their third title in a row this term. That kind of dominance is exactly what United crave.
7/10 Diego Simeone
Simeone has been enjoying much success since taking over at Atletico Madrid. His excellent win rate has seen the club win the Europa League and Super Cup, and against all odds challenge Real Madrid and Barcelona for La Liga title this season. He'd have to hope his history with David Beckham didn't count against him if Manchester United came calling.
8/10 Michael Laudrup
Despite a rather sudden and messy divorce from Swansea City earlier this year, Laudrup did show he was capable of managing at the highest level. He won the League Cup with the Welsh club, the first major trophy in the club's history, and he did it with a brand of football that won many plaudits. A legend as a player, the Dane has the gravitas for such a huge position as Manchester United manager.
9/10 Harry Redknapp
Currently manager of QPR, Redknapp has often been a fan favourite across English football, winning manager of the year in 2009/10 as well as the FA Cup with Portsmouth in 2008. At one stage he looked a certainty to be the next England manager, only to lose out to Roy Hodgson.
10/10 Ex-United players
If Manchester United were to choose from one of their own, they would have plenty of ex-players to pick from. Ryan Giggs is the most obvious choice after being installed on a temporary basis after Moyes' departure. Others in management who served as a player under Sir Alex Ferguson include Roy Keane, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, both Neville brothers and Steve Bruce. Mark Hughes played for United along with Gordon Strachan and Laurent Blanc. While none of them have particularly overachieved in any of their positions, a former player tends to be popular with fans, and can be rewarded with success.
As well as a significant level of experience, the criteria for the new manager is also thought to include having a good grasp of English, which would count against Atletico Madrid's much-admired coach Diego Simeone.
United are trying to move on from the controversy that surrounded the sacking of Moyes on Tuesday, and Giggs will hold his first news conference as player-manager on Friday morning.
The 'Chosen One' banner that has been displayed on the Stretford End since Moyes took over has been taken down, it has been confirmed.
It is also understood that club chiefs will continue to work hard to line up transfer targets so that the deals can be done as soon as the transfer window opens on June 1. That will also give time for the new manager to indicate his views on the targets as well as put forward other transfer wishes.
United have refused to comment on reports that the owners, the Glazers, are due to fly into the UK for talks on the situation.
Meanwhile, West Ham manager Sam Allardyce claimed the process of Moyes' departure could have been handled better.
He said: "For Manchester United as an institution and a football club as large as they are, the process looked like it was flawed, which was a great shame for Manchester United as a brand and, of course, David Moyes knowing his fate before he was even told.
"That is how it looks from the outside. If that is the case, it is a great shame for David and a great shame that Manchester United chose to use that process."
United have insisted no decision had been taken at the time reports first started emerging that Moyes faced the axe.
Roberto Martinez is confident that Moyes, his predecessor at Everton, will have no problems in getting a new job.
He said: "It is not a nice situation when a manager loses his job, especially someone who has such strong links with our club.
"It has been a difficult experience but any experience is a good experience in this game unfortunately.
"We know David Moyes will look forward to the next footballing chapter.
"I am sure he will be ready to get into another job as quick as he can and I am sure he won't have a lack of offers or opportunities when you have someone who is so hard-working, focused and dedicated in his job."
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