Manchester United reportedly believe that there is a key difference between Zinedine Zidane and Antonio Conte which makes the Frenchman a more natural fit for the manager’s role.
Both men have been linked with the Red Devils job in recent weeks, although United’s hesitation on Conte was punished when Tottenham snapped him up earlier this month.
The United hierarchy appear to be jostling for position with a number of managers in case they are forced to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Results were extremely poor before the international break, culminating in a 2-0 home defeat by Manchester City.
Saturday’s trip to Watford is therefore crucial, with a win needed to keep pace with the division’s leaders and presumably to keep Solskjaer at the helm.
Informal talks were held with Conte after Liverpool’s 5-0 massacre at Old Trafford, according to the Daily Record, although the Italian was never offered the job.
When it comes to Zidane, the same report states that United believe he is a less abrasive and demanding figure than Conte, with a better chance of a harmonious working relationship.
His trophy cabinet has by no means suffered as a result, boasting an unmatched three consecutive Champions League titles with Real Madrid between 2016 and 2018.
The club believe they have made progress in trying to persuade Zidane to Old Trafford, despite the 49-year-old showing no real hunger to return to football management.
Appointing anyone would appear to be a plan B, however, given that Solskjaer is likely to get another chance to turn things around this weekend.
Negotiations behind the scenes could well be underway with the intention of making sure they are not left high and dry if results take another downturn over the coming weeks.
The tough games against Villarreal, Chelsea and Arsenal await, and United have not fared well during such big occasions this term.
The likes of Brendan Rodgers, Mauricio Pochettino and Erik ten Hag have also been linked with the hotseat, although the fact they are contracted to other clubs has complicated matters.
With respected figures in the pipeline and United supposedly holding a positive belief about Zidane’s temperament, the pressure is certainly on Solskjaer to pull out a result at Vicarage Road.
“I’m sure when we come back the players will be fresh and the demands will be high but we need to get back to what we were for a while and we have the players to do that,” he said after the Man City loss.
“We’ve been through this a few times and since the last home game it’s been a very difficult period. Systems or style we need to be on the front foot more.
“I can’t look at myself and say this is how I want United to be.
“I have good communication with the club. I want the best for United and as long as I’m here I want to do everything I can to improve this.”