Erik ten Hag is under increasing pressure in what has so far been an underwhelming campaign for Manchester United.
After Leading the Red Devils to third place and two cup finals in his first 12 months at the club, United have been unable to replicate last season’s feel good factor amid reports of player unrest. Now, with a humbling 3-0 home defeat to Bournemouth, serious questions are being asked whether time is up for the Dutchman.
Ten Hag’s side are also on the brink of crashing out of the Champions League group stages next week, having already been dumped out of the Carabao Cup at the hands of Newcastle. United sit in seventh position, 10-points adrift of leaders Liverpool, with any faint hopes of mounting a title charge slipping away.
This season’s performances have not been good enough for a team that splashed £200 million during the summer transfer window on Rasmus Hojlund, Mason Mount and Andre Onana. All three signings have failed to make the desired impact, and coupled with a host of poor displays, Ten Hag’s future has come under increasing scrutiny.
Betting companies now have the former Ajax manager as the second favourite Premier League manager to lose their job next, with only Nottingham Forest’s Steve Cooper more likely. With that considered, we look at five managers Manchester United could look to appoint in the event the club wields the axe on the Dutchman.
The former Real Madrid boss has been linked with the Old Trafford hotseat for some time. The French World Cup winner has been on a managerial sabbatical since leaving the La Liga giants in 2021.
Zidane certainly knows how to make an impact and would immediately command respect in a dressing room that is in dire need of a pick-me-up.
The 51-year-old led Real Madrid to three-consecutive Champions League triumphs and possesses know-how when it comes to getting his teams over the line.
Zidane has hinted that he could take a Premier League job despite, by his own admission, his poor grasp of the English language. That said, the former midfield wizard appears to be keeping all options open.
The German tactician was linked with the vacant managerial posts at both Tottenham and Chelsea this summer after his shock exit from Bayern Munich in March. Despite his tender age of 36, Nagelsmann has built a solid reputation for his varying tactical approach consisting of possession-based football and high-pressing.
His methods have so far proved successful having led RB Leipzig to the Champions League semi-final in 2020 and Bayern Munich to the Bundesliga title in 2021. He left Bavaria with a reputable 71.4 percent win rate – only Pep Guardiola, Hansi Flick and Carlo Ancelotti average more Bundesliga points.
Nagelsmann is currently head coach of the German national team on a short term contract that is set to expire next summer. He will lead Germany in next summer’s Euro 2024 tournament on home soil.
Former Brighton and Chelsea boss Potter has been without a club since his ill-fated stint at Stamford Bridge came to an end in April. Once labelled one of England’s top emerging coaches, Potter will be keen to show his time in west London was merely a blip.
Potter has turned down a host of offers during his time away from the game but the lure of Manchester United might prove too difficult to turn a blind eye to. Given time, Potter could revamp a decaying squad whilst asserting a style of play on a team that currently lacks identity.
Potter is known for an unorthodox style of management to take his players out of their comfort zone. A user of a multitude of formations, the 48-year-old previously admitted to studying Pep Guardiola’s methodology on football management.
Roberto De Zerbi
The Italian proved to be Potter’s replacement at Brighton and has emphatically filled the Englishman’s boots since arriving at the AMEX Stadium in 2022. De Zerbi is no stranger to success at Old Trafford having led the Seagulls to back-to-back victories at the Theatre of Dreams.
The Brighton boss is performing miracles on the south coast having steered his side to Europa League qualification thanks to a seventh-placed league finish last term. And the superb work has continued this season as Brighton sit just a point below United in eighth position with qualification secured for the knockout rounds of the Europa League in what is the club’s first-ever European campaign.
A move to United would provide the Italian with the opportunity to finally flex his muscle at one of world football’s powerhouses after a decade of earning his stripes at a host of smaller clubs.
The ex-Manchester United midfielder has already had his dress rehearsal for a potential stint as boss in the future. Carrick remained at Old Trafford after calling time on his career and was handed a spot on Jose Mourinho’s coaching staff.
The 42-year-old could be the man to galvanise a dressing room that appears to be struggling to produce performances befitting a Manchester United team.
But Middlesbrough will not want to lose their manager who has brilliantly turned around a stuttering start to the season for the Championship side.