It was not necessarily the most guarded secrets; it was always going to be Jose Mourinho or David Moyes to take over the reins at Manchester United from Sir Alex Ferguson.
Mourinho was a more logical choice when it came to success and top level experience. But his brash, outspoken and arrogant demeanour meant Moyes with his calm, humble personality was the preferred choice.
No bust-ups with players and media, Premier League experience, astute budget management and cluelessness about management at the highest level were enough qualities to convince Manchester United chiefs to appoint the Scot to replace a fellow legend.
And that was just the beginning.
Five months later Mourinho is settling nicely in his second stint with Chelsea and Moyes is struggling to find his feet in Old Trafford, especially in the transfer market.
Now make no mistake - Manchester United is a top club. They have competed at the highest levels in England and in Europe and they have an unprecedented haul of trophies - under Alex Ferguson.
With the retirement of United's greatest ever manager however, it seems safe to say that Sir Alex has taken a great chunk of the Old Trafford side with him. The evidence, sadly, is everywhere.
With a huge legacy to compete with, Moyes wisely chose early on to make his presence felt. He lost Ferguson's backroom staff and replaced them with Paul Scholes, Phil Neville and Ryan Giggs.
While it is laudable to surround himself with experienced players, both retired and still playing, and give them the opportunity to learn the coaching trade, Manchester United did not get to its current level by making Old Trafford a learning school for intending coaches and managers. Moyes may not rue his choices of trainers but he could do with world class coaches around him.
One thing he will rue in his early days as Red Devils manager though is his inexperience and influence, mostly a lack of it, in top transfers.
Manchester United has so far failed to sign any of their summer transfer targets. Thiago Alcantara opted for Germany instead of England, Cesc Fabregas will not be moving to Manchester despite concerted efforts to sign him, while moves for Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines remain pure speculation.
United's interest in big name and big money signings signalled a change in approach in the transfer market. But it now seems Moyes didn't count on the fact that his seeming lack of experience at top flight management might work against him while attempting to lure players to his new squad.
With Ferguson gone, players will be wary to see just how the new guy will fare before joining his crusade. These very public setbacks in the transfer market are bad for United's reputation, as well as Moyes'.
Manchester United will now be seen as a club that is not able to secure their top targets. And their manager? Every one already knows he doesn't have the same attraction and influence that Sir Alex had, and still has.
Over the course of the next season, United cannot afford to lose too much ground to rivals - both home and abroad. But with the way things have started out, David Moyes has his work cut out.
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