February 1, 2016 will go down as a painful day in the history of Manchester United.
It was the day their once noisy neighbours appointed the hottest manager in world football.
Manchester United fans pleaded with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to pounce last year when Pep Guardiola announced he would leave Bayern Munich at the end of the season.
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Louis van Gaal’s reputation has hit rock bottom and it was hoped Guardiola would come in and return United to their glory years.
But on Monday, it was their great rivals City who revealed they had grabbed the Spaniard.
Former Manchester United forward Michael Owen acknowledged the fans’ frustration and revealed the two managers United must look to replace Van Gaal with.
He said on Twitter: “Bad day for United yesterday with Guardiola signing for their neighbours.
“Only 2 men suitable for the job now IMO. [Ryan] Giggs or [Jose] Mourinho.”
United must first sack Van Gaal before turning their attentions elsewhere, but it would appear the Dutchman is walking on ice after failing to turn United into title-contenders.
Simeone or Pochettino
Another in-demand coach is Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone, but Owen believes Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino would be a better fit than Atletico’s feisty boss.
When asked for his thoughts on Simeone, Owen replied: “Doesn’t play the United way. Pochettino is more suitable.”
Giggs is an interesting option for United should they get rid of Van Gaal. The Welshman enjoyed 24 seasons as a player at Old Trafford before turning his hand to coaching.
The 42-year-old was in charge of United’s final four games of the 2013-14 season following David Moyes’ sacking and can instill the ethos put in place by Sir Alex Ferguson during his decorated 27-year reign as United boss.
Guardiola v Mourinho
Owen isn’t fazed by Giggs’s inexperience, replying to a question about the matter: “So was Guardiola when he took over at Barcelona.”
However, his lack of experience might make Mourinho a more attractive option.
Guardiola v Mourinho in the battle of Manchester would be a fascinating storyline.