Laurent Blanc emerges as strong candidate for Manchester United manager’s job

The club are keen to install an interim manager with the Frenchman seen as an option before a decision over a permanent successor to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is made

Miguel Delaney,Mark Critchley
Sunday 21 November 2021 14:26
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fired as Manchester United manager

Laurent Blanc is seen as a strong candidate to become Manchester United's interim manager, before the club make a permanent decision on a figure such as Ajax's Erik ten Hag in the summer.

The statement confirming Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's departure effectively confirming the plans, and that there will be patience on the next appointment. While initially reticent on the idea of an interim, United now feel it is the best route out of a complicated situation, and a few candidates are being considered.

Blanc was mooted as an option when Solskjaer first arrived to stand in for Jose Mourinho in December 2018, and he has a good relationship with the hierarchy and Sir Alex Ferguson having spent two years at United as a player. The former French manager also has recent Champions League experience with Paris Saint-Germain.

The United hierarchy are conscious that the season is salvageable in that regard, and the right interim could lead to a Champions League run. An issue is that there aren't that many available. A potential compromise is bringing in a World Cup manager until May, which is how Luis Enrique's name has been mentioned in such circles.

The same problem applies to the permanent manager, which is why United are waiting. Right now, Ten Hag is seen as the most likely appointment, but he has made it clear to all suitors he will not leave Ajax in the lurch and leave at an inopportune time. Mauricio Pochettino's name has naturally been discussed at the top level of United, but his candidature currently isn't as strong as it was in the last few years.

Similar applies to Brendan Rodgers, who is not on their top list of potential appointments. A series of sources say Zinedine Zidane has no interest in the Old Trafford role at present, although executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward does like the idea. Diego Simeone has long been admired by United that is equally seen as impossible.

Much will depend on how the season goes - both for United, and potential appointments. The hierarchy also know that, as they've seen in the last few months, a lot can change in a short space of time. A case in point is Pochettino’s situation. A Champions League run could change the perception of his time in the PSG job, or may see him fully available by the summer.

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