December 7, 2021

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Next Man Utd manager odds: 10 contenders to replace Solskjaer when he is sacked – from Zidane to Pochettino

Next Man Utd manager odds: 10 contenders to replace Solskjaer when he is sacked – from Zidane to Pochettino
Manchester United are on the hunt for their next manager after sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

United have won just one Premier League game since mid-September and were outfought and outclassed in a 4-1 defeat to Watford on Saturday.

“Ole will always be a legend at Manchester United and it is with regret that we have reached this difficult decision,” the club said in a statement on Sunday morning.

“While the past few weeks have been disappointing, they should not obscure all the work he has done over the past three years to rebuild the foundations for long-term success.”

Former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane is the early favourite to replace Solskjaer, with Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers and United’s technical director Darren Fletcher also among the leading contenders.

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Below we list the 10 favourites to take the United job, according to the bookmakers, and i‘s team of sports writers and editors put their candidates forward.

Next Man Utd manager odds

  • Zinedine Zidane: 10-11
  • Brendan Rodgers: 21-10
  • Darren Fletcher: 6-1
  • Erik ten Hag: 10-1
  • Mauricio Pochettino: 18-1
  • Laurent Blanc: 20-1
  • Michael Carrick: 22-1
  • Ralf Rangnick: 22-1
  • Luis Enrique: 25-1
  • Graham Potter: 25-1
  • 33-1 bar

Odds via Betfair and correct as of 21 November

Zinedine Zidane

Evan Bartlett, i assistant sports editor

Zizou has plenty going for him: a glittering CV at Real Madrid, a good relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo and a track record for managing a dressing room filled with huge egos.

As one of France’s greatest former midfielders, he may even be able to get the best out of compatriot Paul Pogba – a player of immense talent who has only shown his best in short spells at Old Trafford.

The big stumbling block for United will be that, since leaving the Bernabeu after a second spell in charge, Zidane has appeared reluctant to get back into management. Would he really swap his relaxed lifestyle in the south of France to go back into one of the most pressurised jobs in football… in the rainy north-west of England?

Julian Nagelsmann

James Gray, i senior sports journalist

As someone who grew up knowing only a Manchester United who crushed all before them, I can’t help but indulge in a little schadenfreude at their current struggles. What I cannot enjoy though is watching Jadon Sancho, a rare talent and a potential England legend, stifled and struggling.

The next man in the job must know how to unlock his ability and offer young players like him guidance: Julian Nagelsmann’s record fits that bill – although his five-year contract at Bayern Munich puts him beyond even United’s grasp.

Mauricio Pochettino

Kat Lucas, i sports journalist

Five years on from a lunch between Sir Alex Ferguson and Mauricio Pochettino, United are still faced with many of the same questions but a smaller pool of pliable coaches to answer them.

Pochettino could transform Sancho back into a prolific wingman like Heung-Min Son and his great Spurs sides featured far more solid spines than United boast currently. He seemed happy to leave PSG in the summer, even for his increasingly unglamorous old job in north London.

Brendan Rodgers

Soccer Football - Premier League - Leicester City v Manchester United - King Power Stadium, Leicester, Britain - October 16, 2021 Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers shakes hands with Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after the match REUTERS/Rebecca Naden EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Brendan Rodgers shakes hands with Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Photo: Reuters)

Michael Hincks, i sports journalist

There are zero entries for names who have managed both Liverpool and Manchester United, so Brendan Rodgers would be making history in that respect. It’s a stumbling block that could make this a non-starter, but in the six years since coaching Liverpool he has lifted eight trophies with Celtic and made Leicester consistent challengers for Europe.

Twice falling short in their Champions League pursuit could also harm his chances, but Saturday’s win over United was a recent reminder of his tactical nous when compared to Solskjaer’s.

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Graham Potter

Oliver Young-Myles, i sports journalist

Scroll for long enough on your smartphone and eventually, you will find Graham Potter’s name on the bookies’ longlist for Manchester United’s next manager. Potter is not the high-profile manager that sections of United’s fanbase, still scarred by the spirit sapping days of David Moyes, would crave.

However, as someone who prioritises team structure and set patterns of play over dressing room dynamics, he would provide tactical clarity that has been sorely lacking under Solskjaer.


Plus: i’s sports writers put their candidates forward for the United job