With Manchester United’s season threatening to end in a damp squib, many fans will already be looking towards the summer when a new manager is expected to be appointed.
As reported by the Manchester Evening News, United are confident they can make a permanent new appointment before the end of the current season, and have their new man in place well in advance of the summer transfer window opening.
Mauricio Pochettino and Erik ten Hag remain the frontrunners to take over from interim manager Ralf Rangnick, while Brendan Rodgers remains under consideration as United look to make an appointment sooner rather than later.
Things have not been going too well for the three frontrunners recently, with another new twist occurring for one of the leading contenders – here is the latest state of play for Ten Hag, Pochettino and Rodgers.
Erik ten Hag
On the pitch, things are still going swimmingly for Ajax as they hold a five-point lead at the top of the Eredivisie, and look favourites to land another league title.
Off the pitch, though, things have become a bit more complicated this week.
Director of football Marc Overmars resigned after sending a series of ‘inappropriate messages’ to female colleagues, and the former Arsenal star’s departure has led to suggestions Ten Hag could be considering his future.
Ten Hag is said to have developed a strong relationship with Overmars, with the Daily Star reporting that Ajax are working on an ‘emergency situation’ in order to try and keep him at the club.
With his contract at the Dutch giants expiring next year though, should Ten Hag wish to pursue opportunities elsewhere, it could play straight into United’s hands.
Pochettino has never quite looked settled at Paris Saint-Germain, and the most recent reports won’t have done anything to make him feel more welcome.
Having failed to win the Ligue 1 title last year, the Argentine looks set to atone for that this season, but a failure in the cup has led to suggestions the French giants could part ways with him this summer.
There have also been suggestions that an early exit from the Champions League could speed up Pochettino’s departure, with PSG facing Real Madrid in the last-16 later this month.
Reports in France have claimed the club are closing in on Zinedine Zidane to take over from Pochettino, which would leave United free to make another attempt to appoint him as manager.
United have been linked to him on numerous occasions over the last few years, and were confident of appointing him following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking before bringing in Rangnick as interim manager.
United were still considering Rodgers alongside the two frontrunners of Ten Hag and Pochettino earlier this year, although their opinion could well have changed in recent weeks.
While Rodgers has been a success at the King Power Stadium over the years, guiding them to successive battles for the top four and delivering a first FA Cup triumph in the club’s history, this season has proven much more difficult.
The Foxes find themselves hovering in mid-table and look set to miss out on another spot in Europe next season, while their defence of the cup has ended early after a resounding 4-1 defeat to Championship side Nottingham Forest in the fourth round.
Rodgers is now being tipped as the next manager to leave their position this season, and with games against Liverpool, West Ham and Wolves coming up, things don’t get any easier for him.
While he may still be considered for the United job, recent results won’t have done him any favours in quelling any lingering doubts, particularly over hiring a former Liverpool manager.