There would appear to be only one man in football who can rescue Manchester United from their rapidly-deteriorating state and return them to the summit of European football - Jose Mourinho.
United’s fans have been clamouring for the Portuguese since faith in Louis van Gaal vanished back in December, when Norwich City came to Old Trafford and left with all three points after a 2-1 win.
But Sir Alex Ferguson, the legendary manager who guided the Red Devils to 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cup wins and two Champions League trophies, doesn’t want Mourinho to sit in the seat he called his own for 27 years.
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That is according to Manchester Evening News journalist Samuel Luckhurst, who believes Ferguson, along with current board members Sir Bobby Charlton and David Gill, want executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to look elsewhere for Van Gaal’s successor.
Ryan Giggs is the Dutchman’s understudy, as he was to previous manager David Moyes prior to his dismissal in 2014, and the Welshman is reported to have a number of backers within United’s hierarchy.
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Luckhurst told BBC Radio Five Live: “Sir Bobby Charlton, Sir Alex Ferguson and even David Gill don’t appear to want Jose Mourinho to become the next Manchester United manager.
“There’s an awful lot of cheerleading still going on for Ryan Giggs, which a lot of Manchester United fans find baffling.”
The bemusement of United fans over the desire to appoint Giggs probably doesn’t stem from a lack of faith in the former winger - more so the fact that Mourinho is a proven winner and has the experience to go head-to-head with Pep Guardiola, who will take over at Manchester City in the summer.
The 53-year-old was sacked by Chelsea in December with the Blues lying 16th in the Premier League and has been heavily linked with the United job since.
But according to Luckhurst, Woodward is hesitant to admit his mistake by sacking Van Gaal and appointing a third manager at Old Trafford in three years.
“Ultimately, Ed Woodward realises that Mourinho is the man to lead United; is the manager United need to come in to sort out this mess.
"But, given his loyalty to Van Gaal, given the fact that he appointed Van Gaal and it was only 10 weeks ago that he called Van Gaal a genius, it’s easy to see why he hasn't sacked him yet, despite the results."
Hefty compensation fee
The Sun reported that United will have to pay Van Gaal £10 million in compensation if they sack him while qualification for next season’s Champions League is still possible. That could also be a possible reason why Woodward is yet to pull the trigger.
Van Gaal’s job appeared untenable following United’s disastrous 2-1 defeat to Midtjylland in the Europa League last week, which followed a loss by the same scoreline to league strugglers Sunderland.