Football: Five possible candidates to replace Jose Mourinho in the Manchester United hot seat

(From left) Zinedine Zidane, Mauricio Pochettino, Didier Deschamps, Laurent Blanc and Ryan Giggs are all potential picks to fill the gap left by Jose Mourinho's departure from the club.
(From left) Zinedine Zidane, Mauricio Pochettino, Didier Deschamps, Laurent Blanc and Ryan Giggs are all potential picks to fill the gap left by Jose Mourinho's departure from the club.PHOTO: AFP, REUTERS

MANCHESTER - Manchester United are looking for a fourth permanent manager since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 after parting ways with Jose Mourinho on Tuesday (Dec 18).

Here are five possible contenders to replace the Portuguese in the United hot seat.

1. Zinedine Zidane

The former Real Madrid manager has been heavily linked with United since leaving the Spanish giants in May. In under two-and-a-half years in charge of Real, the 46-year-old Frenchman became the first manager to win the European Cup or Champions League in three consecutive seasons. Zidane's penchant for an exciting brand of football puts him as a front runner with the United board.

2. Mauricio Pochettino

The Tottenham manager was high on United's list of targets to replace Louis van Gaal when the Dutchman was sacked. Influential figures at Old Trafford are said to be big fans of Pochettino, who throughout his career has blooded young players in the United way. But Spurs chairman Daniel Levy will surely not let the Argentinian depart without a fight.

3. Didier Deschamps

The 49-year-old led France to their second World Cup this year and it remains to be seen if he would be tempted away from the Les Bleus where he has a contract until 2020.

 
 

4. Laurent Blanc

The former France international and manager is well respected at United having spent his final two years as a player at Old Trafford. The former Bordeaux coach became France manager in 2010 and lost to eventual 2012 World Cup winners Spain at the quarter-final stage before stepping down after the tournament. Paris St Germain followed, where he won 11 trophies in three seasons before he left in 2016. Blanc may have been out of the game for two years, but his expansive brand of football is what United fans are craving for.

5. Ryan Giggs

One of the greatest players ever to represent United, the Welshman spent four games as United's interim manager after David Moyes was sacked in 2014 and two years as van Gaal's assistant. The 44-year-old left United when Mourinho was appointed in 2016 and would be a popular appointment with the fans.