Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho at Manchester United when he joined in as caretaker boss on 19th December 2018 after the Special One was sacked following a dismal run of form, with the 3-1 defeat at eternal rivals Liverpool proving to be the final nail in the coffin.
The Norwegian, who is an Old Trafford legend after his winning goal in the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich helped them to secure the treble, was initially supposed to be a temporary solution. The ex-Cardiff City boss’s presence allowed the players who were alienated by Mourinho to rejuvenate and perform again.
United went on a winning run, starting with a demolition of Cardiff City (away) in Solskjaer’s first game as interim manager. This run also included a memorable FA Cup win at Arsenal. A monumental aggregrate victory at Paris-Saint Germain in the Champions League followed. They were ultimately dumped out by FC Barcelona and the Premier League season ended on a sour note with, interestingly enough, a home loss to already relegated Cardiff City.
By that time Solskjaer had secured the job on permanent basis and set about stamping his authority on the squad.
Three years on, Solskjaer’s United have spent around half a billion pounds and are yet to get win a single trophy. They recently lost to Villarreal in the Europa League final, which was the Spanish club’s first ever major trophy. Since then many fans have become disillusioned with the ex-Molde coach.
This season has been no exception with a mixed start to the season despite bringing in players like Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and most importantly Cristiano Ronaldo. Questions have been asked on his Solskjaer’s tactical nous, man-management (the treatment of Donny van de Beek) and even active lowering of expectations.
United are linked continuously getting linked with new managerial names every day and if the mixed start continues and they fail to win a trophy despite the large outlay on transfers, the Norwegian legend might have to pack his bags to make way for a new manager.
We will look at three most likely managers who can replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The easiest name to link the Manchester club’s name with, Conte has not been in management job since he left Inter Milan after disputes with the owner on squad overhaul. Conte is one of the best managers who is available. He is a serial winner and his trophy record speaks for itself though he has largely disappointed in the Champions League.
He will relish the chance to manage one of the biggest club’s in the world. The squad definitely has personnel to play his style of Football.
It remains to be seen if the owners, the Glazers, can provide him with the sufficient backing he always demands.
Another manager who is currently free, the ex-Real Madrid boss has won the Champions League three times in a row. Very few managers possess the aura ‘Zizou’ has as he was a highly successful and generational player who has inspired many players in the game, most notably Paul Pogba who has always maintained his wish to play under his idol. This could help United to get him in.
Zidane has the experience of managing egos when he was at Real Madrid. He maintained harmony in a dressing room full of galacticos which undoubtedly helped them in winning three UCL’s and two Spanish Leagues.
This experience makes him a great candidate to take up the Manchester United job.
Erik ten Hag
The current Ajax boss, his side plays an attractive style of football inspired by Johan Cryuff’s ‘Total Football’ philosophy that saw his side minutes away from a Champions League final in the 201/19 UCL Season. He bleeds in youth and has rebuilt his side on a small budget after players like Hakim Ziyech, Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt and Donny van de Beek were poached by other clubs. He has won multiple Eredivisie titles with the Amsterdam club.
He will bring more tactical flexibility to United. He is the right man if the Manchester club wants to start a new project.