The day that Sir Alex Ferguson departs the Old Trafford hot seat will be a difficult day for all fans of the Red Devils. Unfortunately, that day must be near. In his twenty seventh year as the gaffer, his enthusiasm and ability have not waned in the slightest. However, it is hard to see him in the job for longer than a couple more years.
When his retirement does come, the pub debate classic, “who will succeed Sir Alex?” will finally have to be answered once and for all. So who exactly are the main contenders? Personally I think it is a choice of three. These are Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and David Moyes.
So lets look at these three men. Jose Mourinho is undoubtedly one of the worlds best managers. He led his Porto side to Champions League glory, beating Fergie’s United on the way, before taking over at Chelsea and delivering back to back league titles in his first two seasons. Following that he led Inter Milan to several trophies including another Champions League success and now is in charge of Real Madrid, managing to beat the seemingly invincible Barcelona to last years La Liga title.
All this points to the fact that Mourinho is simply a manager who wins things. His football style is not always pretty but by and large it is very effective. This has to be a serious lure for the Manchester United hierarchy. Mourinho has made no secret of his desire to return to England and you can’t help but feel that his ego would love the challenge and pressure of succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson.
Conversely, Mourinho is a controversial character who may bring disrepute onto the club and also seems to be a manager who does well when there is money to spend. That may not be the case at United, where an emphasis on youth has always been important.
This may bring Pep Guardiola to the fore. At Barcelona he placed great faith in the younger players from the academy. Granted, Barcelona have probably the best academy in world football, but that philosophy will appeal to the United bosses perhaps more than Mourinho who would want greater amounts of cash to splash.
In addition to this, Guardiola also has become famed for playing “sexy football” the kind that tradition dictates must be played by Manchester United. Once more this would make him an attractive proposition. When you factor in the extraordinary number of trophies that Guardiola has on his CV he would seem a hard man to turn down.
My reservation would be whether he would be able to replicate his Barcelona success away from the club that he has been an integral part of for the majority of his footballing life. Also, he inherited an incredible squad at the Nou Camp, packed with some of the greatest players ever to play the game. The United squad is good, but by no means world class and whether he could play the kind of football he would like and win the trophies he needs with this United squad is a massive question.
My other leading contender is David Moyes. The Scotsman has been in charge at Everton for over a decade and I think everyone would agree has done a remarkable job. Working on a shoestring budget, Moyes has consistently made Everton a top of the table team, even qualifying for the Champions League. He definitely deserves a crack at a big club and like Guardiola would place faith in young players. Moyes is also experienced at getting the most out a squad and that could be a key skill for the next man at Old Trafford. Where Moyes will fall down the reckoning behind the likes of Mourinho and Guardiola is that he has never managed in the Champions League proper. Domestically I believe Moyes has a really good chance of landing the job, but his lack of top level European experience may see him overlooked.
Those are the three men who I see as the leading contenders to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson. We know that Ferguson himself has a close relationship with the Portuguese Mourinho maybe giving him the edge. One thing is for sure, when Sir Alex steps aside, everyone will be clamouring for the biggest job in world football. To take over from a man who has brought unparalleled success for over 26 years would be a huge challenge and a huge honour. Everybody will want the job, but who will get it?
Who do you think will be the next Manchester United manager? Leave comments below.
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