The new manager bounce which greeted the arrival of fan’s favourite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as Manchester United boss seems an awfully long time ago now, with the club having endured their worst start to a season in 30 years under the Norwegian’s guidance.
The most successful club in Premier League history is currently sitting just two points above the division’s drop zone, and the pressure continues to mount at Old Trafford as the club’s stuttering start continues.
Whilst those in charge says Solskjaer’s position is safe for now, there are many who are yet to be convinced he will be the man in charge for the long-term.
Only Everton’s Marco Silva is currently shorter odds to be the next Premier League manager sacked, so we’ve decided to play devils advocate and see who the bookies fancy to take over should Solskjaer be dismissed.
Here are the five favourites to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as Manchester United manager…
Erik Ten Hag – 18/1
Ten Hag enhanced his burgeoning reputation by guiding Ajax to a domestic double last season, with the Dutch side also impressing during a surprise run to the semi-finals of the Champions League.
The 49-year-old has developed an exciting young side, combining both attractive football with on-field success. Despite seeing his side lose star names such as Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong to European giants during the summer, he has continued to find a winning formula at the Johan Cruyff Arena with the club once again sitting top of both the Eredivisie and remain competitive in a Champions League group containing Chelsea.
Bayern Munich have also been linked with the Dutchman, who coached their second team between 2013 and 2015.
Laurent Blanc – 9/1
The former Manchester United defender has been without a club since leaving Paris Saint-Germain in 2016, with whom he won three consecutive Ligue 1 titles between 2014 and 2016.
Blanc has been linked with a return to Old Trafford as manager, having spent two seasons at the club as a player in the twilight of his illustrious career.
His previous relationship may make him an attractive proposition with the club keen to retain their history and traditions, though their appointment of Solskjaer proves there are no guarantees of success in trying to rediscover the values of the Sir Alex Ferguson era.
Brendan Rodgers – 9/1
Could it really happen?
The former Liverpool boss is amongst the frontrunners with the bookmaker’s should Solskjaer depart, having rebuilt his reputation since being sacked at Anfield in 2015.
The Northern Irishman almost guided United’s great rivals to a maiden Premier League title in 2014, before enjoying unprecedented dominance in Scottish football whilst in charge of Celtic – including winning back-to-back domestic trebles.
The 46-year-old admits his opportunity at Liverpool perhaps came too early in his career, and believes he has developed his knowledge as a manager since then – as evidenced by high-flying Leicester’s current form with Rodgers at the helm.
Whilst he may often get ridiculed for his long list of soundbites, Rodgers places faith in youth and is tactically astute, whilst he would introduce an attacking style that would please the United faithful.
His record in the transfer market is a concern, given United’s recent failings in player recruitment.
Mauricio Pochettino – 10/3
The Spurs boss is said to have been amongst United’s leading candidates when opting to replace Jose Mourinho last December, though the club accepted it would be hard to prise the Argentine away from the North London side.
Less than a year later and Pochettino’s situation looks vastly different. Spurs are struggling for form, whilst there appears to be unrest within the squad if reports are to be believed.
Pochettino himself is amongst the favourites to be the next Premier League manager sacked, though that is unlikely to deter United who still regard the 47-year-old amongst Europe’s finest coaches despite his lack of silverware.
In five seasons at Tottenham he has managed to keep the club competitive at the top end of the Premier League, despite working on a comparatively modest budget to their top-six rivals as the club moved into their new stadium.
Some have suggested Pochettino believes he has taken the club as far as he can by reaching last season’s Champions League final, and a change of scenery and substantial budget with which to operate could persuade him to Old Trafford.
Max Allegri – 7/4
The favourite to replace Solskjaer is former Juventus manager Max Allegri, who is currently without a club having opted to leave the Turin side at the end of last season.
The most proven manager on this list at the very highest level, Allegri guided AC Milan to the Serie A title before moving to Juventus, with whom he won a further five championships in consecutive seasons.
In that time Allegri would also secure four Coppa Italia trophies and twice reach the Champions League final, leading Juventus to domestic dominance in Italian football and showcasing his abilities as an elite manager.
Securing the services of a tactically intelligent, proven winner would undoubtedly increase optimism at Old Trafford, as the club look to return to winning ways in the coming years.