From best in the Premier League to Xabi Alonso and Zinedine Zidane – the A-list managers who could replace Erik ten Hag
Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is under serious pressure, but who will replace him if he gets sacked?
Their campaign has got a whole lot worse as their hold on the Carabao Cup came to a dismal end as they were served up a 3-0 humiliation at the hands of Newcastle.
It’s not going much better in Europe as they’ve already lost two out of three Champions League group stage matches and qualification now looks a tall ask.
The pressure is very much on Ten Hag, who has also had to deal with numerous issues from Mason Greenwood to Jadon Sancho.
There’s also uncertainty surrounding Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s prospective takeover, however, before he even comes in Ten Hag could be out the door. But who could be brought in to replace the former Ajax boss? There are already some big names who could be the answer.
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Arguably the best manager in the Premier League over the last 12 months, Emery’s impact at Aston Villa has been astonishing.
Only Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City have taken more points than Villa since Emery took over in November 2022.
When he arrived, the club were in disarray and were in a relegation scrap under Steven Gerrard and now they are looking at potentially fighting for a spot in the Champions League as they currently sit fifth in the table.
United are in desperate need of someone with a clear idea of tactics that can be translated quickly and successfully, something Emery has proved he can do at Villa Park.
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What Alonso has already achieved at Bayer Leverkusen is nothing short of sensational, taking them from a moment of crisis to potential Bundesliga challengers.
The Spaniard took over in a similar position to what United find themselves in now: lifeless, rudderless and in desperate need of radical change.
Alonso’s Leverkusen play football that is gorgeous on the eye, gets results and helps develop players, not inhibit them while at United, players have often failed to grow.
That could change if Alonso is given the keys to Old Trafford, though his Liverpool past might make that a hard sell to the fans.
The Frenchman’s name has often popped up when United have been on the lookout for a manager and his record in the Champions League is astonishing, winning three in a row with Real Madrid.
His presence and legendary status demands respect from players as soon as he walks in a room while he has proved he can work with the biggest of egos while at the Bernabeu.
However, his stint at Real ended two years ago now and he has not had a job since, plus everything was already in place at Madrid for him to be a success.
Whether Zidane has the managerial nous to take on a job that might need the roots being dug up also remains to be seen.
Roberto De Zerbi
Arguably the hottest property in management right now, De Zerbi has turned Brighton into a force to be reckoned with despite regularly losing players and coaches.
Their attractive style of football is easy on the eye and has taken them to the Europa League where fans have dreams of going far.
Several clubs have already been keeping tabs on the Italian while some have even mentioned him as a potential Pep Guardiola replacement at Manchester City.
If United could snap up the Brighton boss instead, it would be hailed as quite the coup.
While his reputation might be slightly tarnished after his less-than-impressive stint in charge of Germany, there are not many better managers than Flick who are currently free agents.
His preferred formation of 4-2-3-1 would suit United’s current crop of players and has made a commitment to attacking football throughout his career.
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As manager of Bayern Munich, Flick inherited a squad many had deemed was full of egos but he managed to temper them and won the treble in 2020 – just the club’s second in their history.
That Bayern side was renowned for being one of the best in recent memory, scoring 3 goals on average per game in all competitions while he left the club with a 83 per cent win rate.
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