Manchester United will have been monitoring potential replacements for Sir Alex Ferguson for some time now. The trouble is, who can replace Fergie once he decides to retire for good? This could quite possibly be the hardest decision in the decorated history of Manchester United.
United will be keen to ensure that the hard work, success and legacy that has been built during the Ferguson years continues for many more years to come. Yet choosing the right person to lead the club forward is going to be difficult, some might say impossible.
In my opinion United would be best served to task either David Moyes or Brendan Rodgers to take the club forward. Moyes is now a very experienced manager who year after year has led Everton to relative success without major funds at his disposal. He knows what it takes to graft to achieve success.
Meanwhile, Rodgers has been schooled in the fundamentals of football. He plays football the right way, is clear on his own principles and has developed as a manager over recent years. Both have excellent attributes which may attract United.
Other likely candidates from abroad are led by the likes of Jose Mourinho, who is another option and most certainly an option that is very attractive to many. The self-proclaimed 'Special One' is used to winning trophies wherever he goes but United may want to look at building a dynasty and look more to longevity rather than the flamboyant character of Mourinho, who has a tendency to believe he is bigger than the club at times. United do not want this.
A strong character to handle the pressure of such a huge club is required, so selecting the right person is paramount.
Laurent Blanc is another viable option, a former United player who knows the club well but one ex-player who is developing into a successful manager in his own right at international and club level.
Other former United players have not achieved the success that warrants consideration for the top job at United. The likes of Steve Bruce, Mark Hughes and Roy Keane have not excelled at managerial level and should not come into consideration.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, a very popular player at Manchester United during his stay, could be an outsider for the job but is very new to management. He is currently plying his managerial trade with Norwegian side Molde.
Sir Alex Ferguson's assistants over the years have also struggled to make a name for themselves having left to pursue their own careers. Steve McClaren, Brian Kidd and Carlos Queiroz have not achieved what perhaps was expected of them given their schooling under one of the greats, but have forged successful careers as number twos.
Current players such as Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes will not be given the role simply because they have no experience in management and the pressure and expectations at United are such that choosing them would be a mistake.
Whoever United choose, it will prove a difficult job, more so because Fergie is a tough act to follow. This decision is crucial for United to maintain their success over the last 25 years. Managing United will be a huge burden to bear so the right man for the job will need to handle pressure that they may not have had to handle before.
Whoever is given the unenviable task of following in Fergie's footsteps will face the biggest challenge of their managerial career. The question is, who will it be?
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