Sir Alex Ferguson's successor: top four candidates

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The evergreen Sir Alex Ferguson has hinted on numerous occasions that his time in charge of Manchester United would soon be coming to an end. Yet, the 71-year-old Scot continues to lead the Red Devils on their charge to reclaim the Premier League title from bitter rivals, Manchester City.

However, when Sir Alex does eventually call time on his illustrious managerial career, who would even have the audacity to attempt to surpass his achievements at United? Is it even possible to fill the void that would be left in the managerial hot-seat at Old Trafford?

GiveMeFootball takes a closer look at four candidates who could be in with a shout of filling Ferguson's shoes, carrying his Old Trafford legacy forward and into a new dawn.

Jose Mourinho (Real Madrid)

The self-proclaimed 'Special One' has found it tough going of late, with recent results at Real Madrid anything but 'special'.

Madrid are effectively out of the title race so early on in the season, yet Mourinho's stock continues to rise despite some disappointing results, with many claiming Mourinho is the best manager in world football. A claim that has some substance, it would seem.

Not many managers can win the Champions League with the unfancied Porto, then move to the Premier League and in his maiden season, break the long-standing dominance of Manchester United and Arsenal by winning the title with Chelsea - their first since the 1954/55 season.

Mourinho also won the treble with Inter, a feat achieved by only five other European clubs. He then travelled to Spain where Madrid usurped Barcelona in the race for La Liga, beating their rivals to the title for their first league success since 2006.

With an incredible 20 titles in his 12 years of management, the Portuguese is a born winner and the winning mentality instilled at Manchester United makes Mourinho and United a match made in heaven.

David Moyes (Everton)

David Moyes' managerial abilities are appreciated by compatriot Sir Alex Ferguson, as he has publicly praised the Everton boss in the press. Could Sir Alex throw his backing behind Moyes' appointment when the time does come for Fergie to step down?

Moyes joined Everton from Preston North End and has made the Merseyside club one of the most consistent in the league, regularly finishing in the top seven despite a minimal outlay on transfers.

The 49-year-old Glaswegian continues to achieve this on a shoe-string budget, and it would be interesting to see how Moyes fares if given financial backing at a club with the stature of Manchester United.

He has nurtured many stars such as Mikel Arteta, Wayne Rooney and Marouane Fellaini, but even though his Everton side have failed to win a trophy under Moyes' tutelage, the levels of consistency they show each season is a feat in itself.

At Manchester United, Moyes would have the perfect opportunity to put some silverware on his CV, with the chance to regularly win the trophies which have so far eluded him at Everton.

Pep Guardiola (Former FC Barcelona)

Pep Guardiola has taken a year-long sabbatical from football after ending his reign in charge of Barcelona. When the Spaniard does eventually return to management, numerous reports have suggested that the Premier League will be his next port of call.

Guardiola arrived at Barcelona with minimal managerial experience, yet he surpassed all expectations by winning six major trophies in his first year at the club. What followed was the stuff of dreams as Guardiola ended up with 14 trophies in just four years with the Catalan giants.

The fact that Guardiola led Barcelona to two Champions League titles, masterminding wins over Manchester United on both occasions, throws weight behind the claim that he is the only manager who could completely outfox Sir Alex.

Meanwhile, it has been reported Ferguson has recently met up with Guardiola in a bid to tempt the 41-year-old Spaniard into succeeding him at United, although neither party have commented on the rumours.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Molde)

The former Manchester United player is adored by both the fans and Sir Alex. The Norwegian is still in his early years as a manager but since joining Molde, he has won the Norwegian Premier League twice in a row, so the early signs are that Solskjaer has what it takes for a long and successful career in management.

The 39-year-old boss has also managed Manchester United's reserves, so he is familiar with the coaching staff at Old Trafford which would inevitably help if given the opportunity to take charge at Old Trafford, although Manchester is like a second home to the affable former striker.

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