Thinking of words to describe the achievements of Sir Alex Ferguson over the years is a daunting task - incredible, astonishing, marvellous - these words just scratch the surface in describing the great levels of success he has achieved.
In a time when managers are given very little time to achieve results before losing their jobs, Sir Alex has flourished in the high-pressure position of being in charge of Manchester United.
His obvious hunger and desire to win is the main reason he has stayed on for over two decades, but even though he may want to manage forever he knows that eventually a successor will have to be named.
There will be no shortage of candidates for the job, and all the big names will surely be thrown into the hat, but what characteristics would the new manager need to have to emulate Sir Alex?
It’s doubtful that someone of the same calibre exists, but if the perfect replacement could be created, he would need to have a strong background and be a proven trophy winner. A man who has the respect of the players is more likely to get them to produce the type of results that a club like Manchester United is expected to achieve.
Impressing the fans will also be a tough task, who are sure will be over critical of a manager’s decisions. The manager needs to be used to working in a hostile, high-pressure environment.
A new manager will come in with his own ideas and team style, but it is essential the manager has Premier League experience. The club would expect instant success. Changing manager should not lead the club in to transition. The fans would want some one to pick up where Ferguson left off.
With all of the above considered it seems the Manchester United board are left with a very short shortlist. Here are two candidates that fit the bill.
His record speaks for itself, and the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ will have no problems winning over the dressing room and most of the fans.
His tactical know-how should help him produce the results, and emulate the success the club thrives on. But that's where his downfall comes in. Mourinho is a very ambitious manager and he seems constantly on the look out for a new challenge.
No one can see him staying at one club for twenty years, especially if he achieves success early on, the problem is that Manchester United will find themselves with no manager very soon after his arrival and the stability of the club will be affected. Manchester United must be looking for a long-term solution once Sir Alex retires.
It seems only just short of a miracle with what he has done with Everton since taking over 11 years ago.
With little or no budget, he has managed to get Everton fighting for European places every season he has been there. As a good friend of Sir Alex he might be on the receiving end of a recommendation from the Manchester United manager.
However, he has not been successful enough to manage the big name players he would encounter at Manchester United. The attitudes of the high earners at Manchester United will be much harder to manage, especially as they will not trust and respect him fully, with no past-success backing him.
Tactically he has nothing special to offer, but being the third longest serving manager in the Premier League behind Sir Alex and Arsene Wenger means he could be the long-term option Manchester United are after.
Whatever the outcome, Sir Alex is likely to have a big part in appointing his eventual replacement.
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