Manchester United: Who will eventually replace Fergie at Old Trafford?
It could be at the end of this season, next season or in the near future, but the career of Sir Alex Ferguson is coming towards its end. Of course he wouldn’t want to leave. He has a new squad with exciting additions, a conveyor-belt of an academy and the biggest challenge of his career taking down the local rivals. But how long can he continue such a fantastic legacy?
Most importantly, who will take over and attempt to match the accomplishments of the great Scotsman? Let’s look at some possible candidates.
We’ll start in Spain with one of the top prospects linked with the Old Trafford job. Jose Mourinho, 49, is a man people either really like or really hate. But the fact is, the man is a winner. With both domestic and European trophies won with different clubs around Europe, it’s hard to argue with the man’s achievements. There is of course his style of play, his interactions with the media and sacrificing style for substance.
Many will point to his clashes with Barcelona and his controversial press conferences as reasons to not go for him. But the Special One gets results, trophies and glory. It should also be noted that his Real Madrid side outscored Barcelona throughout last season and itcan’t be assumed he’ll destroy the fundamentals that have made Manchester United consistently strong for so long.
Mourinho may be seen as a manager who relies on huge financial backing, but he’s won the Champions League with Porto and Inter, teams who can’t compare financially with Chelsea and Real Madrid. Some may doubt his personality and philosophies, but no-one can doubt his record.
Another record we cannot doubt is that of Pep Guardiola, aged 41. A man who is more humble and eloquent in front of the press, the Spaniard won 14 titles in four years in charge of Barcelona. This record may appear to match that of Mourinho, but it was of course achieved with one team. A team he, himself, represented 263 times. A team he knew inside out and a team that consisted of some of the greatest players to ever play the game.
Make no mistake, Guardiola is a fantastic manager and got the best out of his squad. But with such a collection of talent, Guardiola and Barcelona were expected to win. Therefore, Guardiola , as a manager, has yet to exceed expectations.
Mourinho has Porto, Sir Alex Ferguson has Aberdeen, but Guardiola has one of the greatest club sides in the history of the game. Guardiola was, however, able to utilize the academy system and assemble his team to get the best out of everyone. He is a wanted man, and many want him at the Theatre of Dreams.
Now there are options in England, including the overachieving David Moyes who defies many with his low budget Everton squad competing with the best and finishing well above most predictions. But the step up might be too big.
When Manuel Pellegrini moved from Villarreal to Real Madrid people thought Pellegrini could translate his work with Villarreal to the big job at the Bernabéu. But we all know that didn’t work out. It could have been because of the lack of support from those around and above Pellegrini, but it’s made people want to look towards managers who already have experience working with big clubs instead.
One last option, one closer to home, is the Welsh wizard Ryan Giggs. Much like the way Pep Guardiola inspired the club he loved. Giggs knows Manchester United inside out and has been learning from the master since the beginning of his professional career. Little would change in philosophy, the never say die attitude and the competitive nature of Giggs is only matched by Sir Alex Ferguson. But a lot of questions will be raised over his experience. It’s also been shown that great players don’t automatically make great managers. But of course, it’s possible Ryan Giggs could have the same effect on Manchester United that Guardiola had on Barcelona.
There are so many options out there and no-one knows when this problem will arise. But it’s vital to make the transition as smooth as possible. Of course it’s going to be difficult to replace such a great manager in Sir Alex. It might not be done; Manchester United may have some struggles. It’s also likely the next manager won’t get the backing and patience from the owners, who, despite their problems, have stayed out of the way. But it’s important the club get the best person for the job and continue the proud, winning tradition that has been established by the great Sir Alex Ferguson.
Calling all Manchester United fans: Who would you like to replace Sir Alex when the day finally comes? Would you go for Mourinho over Guardiola, or would you like to see Giggs or Moyes given a chance? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.
For more Manchester United articles, click here