5 potential replacements for Jose Mourinho if he leaves Manchester United
The warning signs had been there since last season and now things are beginning to look ominous for the continued relationship between Manchester United and its manager; Jose Mourinho.
The coming of the "Special One" in the 2016/2017 season had been hailed by Red Devil fans following the atrophy and stagnation of the David Moyes and Louis van Gaal eras.
Mourinho was seen as the perfect man to help the team compete against city rival Manchester City who had previously announced the arrival of Pep Guardiola.
The first season had gone well with a League Cup and Europa League papering over the cracks of a disappointing league campaign where the team finished 6th.
Cracks began to appear last season as, despite a considerable outlay on transfers, United were blown away by Pep and his Cityzens who won the league with ease.
It was expected that United would reinforce in the just-concluded transfer window but the arrivals turned out to be too small for Mourinho's liking.
All through the summer, he had sulked and moaned about the refusal of the board (read Ed Woodward) to get his targets. This rift between manager and administrator has been exacerbated by stories of unrest in the team, stories which Mourinho's public moaning has made worse.
The shambolic loss to Brighton over the weekend has cranked up the level of noise surrounding both team and manager and it seems only a matter of time before the relationship reaches a rather premature end.
Here is a look at 5 tacticians that could be in the frame to replace Mourinho if he leaves Old Trafford or is fired:
#5 Leonardo Jardim
Another Portuguese coach, Jardim has continued to win admiring glances across Europe due to his exploits with Sporting Club and AS Monaco. He will be a popular choice for Manchester United fans who have been starved of the fluid, attacking football the team was noted for during the Sir Alex Ferguson era.
One of his major strengths has been his ability to improve players he met at the clubs he has coached instead of demanding for new transfers. To be put into proper perspective, he has not coached at a club that has the resources that Man United can command.
However, his ability to improve players and make them better is one that would appeal to the powers-that-be at Old Trafford. This is because the seeming retrogression of certain players under Mourinho’s management (Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw amongst others0 is not one that has gone down well with certain members of the board.
An avid lover of the 4-4-2 formation, his love of offensive football (his Monaco side score for fun), ability to develop young players (Kylian Mbappe, Bernardo Silva, Fabinho are just a few examples) as well as his willingness to work with a director of football make him the perfect replacement for the high-strung Mourinho.