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The wheels fall off for Ole: Who are the potential names linked with Manchester United managers position?

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Credit: @manchesterunited instagram - Ole departs after 4-1 loss over Watford

Following their embarrassing 4-1 away defeat to Watford, Manchester United have parted company with Ole Gunnar Solksjaer. 

The defeat on Saturday was the final straw for the Norwegian as United sit comfortably outside the top four after losing five of their last seven Premier League games.

Ole signed a new three-year-deal back in July but departs after the Red Devils’ current form has left them 12 points behind leaders Chelsea.

The club hierarchy ignored calls to sack Ole after being battered in two consecutive home games, shipping 7 goals and scoring none as Liverpool and Man City won 5-0 and 2-0 respectively. 

A statement from the club says Micheal Carrick will take charge of the next couple of games until a new interim boss is appointed to take the club forward. 

A strange decision given the size of the club and the managers that could be available to them?

The statement read:

“Ole will always be a legend at Manchester United and it is with regret that we have reached this difficult decision. 

“While the past few weeks have been disappointing, they should not obscure all the work he has done over the past three years to rebuild the foundations for long-term success.”

Following the success in finishing second last season after being given the job on a temporary basis the year before, United chiefs expected improvement especially with the introduction of exciting trio Sancho, Varane and Ronaldo. 

But recent performances haven’t been good enough and the news on Sunday morning came as no surprise.

The decision to remove Ole may have come a game earlier which would have given the club more time to find a replacement.

Zinedine Zidane, Luis Enrique and current favourite Mauricio Pochettino have all been linked with the Old Trafford hotseat but who is the right fit for arguably the biggest management job in world football?

As the list of replacements grows by the day, we look at five names who have been tipped to takeover as Manchester United boss.

Mauricio Pochettino: Current PSG boss declares “interest” in United job

The 49 year-old Argentine is the current manager of French giants Paris-St-Germain and was heavily linked with United job after being sacked by Spurs back in 2019.

His current side sit 12 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 and are on course to qualify for the knock-out stages of the Champions League. 

Credit: @MauricioPochettino Instagram – PSG beaten 2-1 away at Man City on Wednesday night…

Despite the former Spurs boss revealing during the week that he is ‘happy in Paris,’ PSG’s defeat to Manchester City in the Champions League on Wednesday evening may put some doubts in the Argentine’s mind.

Pochettino will have one year to run on his contract in the summer and the French club will be given compensation if the move to Manchester goes ahead.

Sky Sports Pundit, Gary Neville said:

“I think Mauricio Pochettino – although he’d never say it – would leave to come to Man Utd on a five-year deal tomorrow.

”He’d look at that group of players, he’d look at the club and he’d realise he’d probably be able to achieve more than he wants at Man Utd in terms of a project.”

Neville added:

“At PSG you are on season by season, ‘you’ve got to win the Champions League or you’re out’- type of model. I don’t think that suits Pochettino. I think he would absolutely come to Man Utd on a five-year deal, with backing behind him.”

The 49-year-old is the current favourite for the role and would be welcomed by the majority of fans. 

His front-foot approach to the game suits the expectation at Manchester United and having led Tottenham to the 2019 Champions league final, the hope would be that he can build something similar and more in the North-West.

Ernesto Valverde: Former Barca man interested in Old Trafford hot-seat as United search for interim manager 

Manchester United have held initial talks with Valverde as they continue their search for an interim manager until the end of the season. 

The former Barcelona boss is amongst the favourites to fill the role, as the Red Devils continue their search for a permanent replacement. 

The 57-year-old won two La Liga titles and the Copa del Rey in two years at the Spanish giants and is a three-time Greek Champion from his time at Olympiakos. He has been out of work since January 2020 after being sacked by Barcelona, despite the club being at the top of the table at the time.

Credit: @FCBarcelona instagram – Valverde on training pitch with Messi at Barca…

His fate was secured after losing the Spanish Super Cup to Atletico and subsequently being booed of the pitch. He was accused by fans as being a ‘yes man’ to the Barca board but does have experience in short-term roles.

His points-per-game rate (2.23) was an improvement on many of his predecessors but in the eyes of the Barcelona hierarchy he fell shorts of Luis Enrique (2.41), Tito Vilanova (2.39) and Pep Guardiola (2.36).

Valverde has managed four other Spanish teams – Bilbao, Villarreal, Valencia and Espanyol – who reached the UEFA Cup final under his leadership. 

When the Spaniard took over at Valencia back in 2012, he guided the side to a point from a top-four spot, despite being 11th at the start of his reign. 

Micheal Carrick: Could the former United midfielder follow in the footsteps of Ole?

Carrick won his first match as caretaker manager in Villarreal on Tuesday evening and reports suggest United are considering keeping him in charge at Old Trafford on an interim basis.

The 2-0 away win guaranteed United’s place in the knock-out stages after second-half goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and £73million summer signing Jadon Sancho. 

The ex Manchester United midfielder was given the role as caretaker manager following the sacking of Ole on Sunday.

Credit: @manchesterunited instagram.- Carrick celebrates 2-1 win over Villarreal…

But the decision to appoint Carrick has come under question from some, including former fan-favourite Paul Scholes:

“You asked the question of whether they’ll be any better tonight, but it’s the same people running the team.

“It’s the same people given massive responsibility to put the team out on the pitch, it’s more Kieran McKenna, Michael Carrick, who have prepared the team.”

He added:

“Ole trusted them each week to get the team prepared for games. They’ve let the club down, the players down, as much as Ole has.”

According to The Times, United are considering giving Carrick an extended run in charge if he can improve performances and get the team back to winning ways in the Premier League. 

This may give the club time to identify a new permanent boss.

However, if Carrick can impress the Manchester United hierarchy could he be given a chance as their next permanent manager?

It’s a big ask with six months remaining in the season, but stranger things have happened. 

Watch this space…

Brendan Rodgers: the Leicester manager is the ‘favourite’ Premier League option

Former Liverpool and Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers remains the leading Premier League candidate despite distancing himself from the role earlier this week by stating he is ‘committed’ to Leicester.

Credit: Brendan Rodgers instagram – Leicester boss plays down talks of joining United…

Rodgers could be a good fit at Old Trafford and may be in the United hot-seat at some point in the near future.

At Leicester, with a small transfer budget compared to their rivals, the Irishman has delivered FA Cup success and steered the Foxes to consecutive fifth place finishes – putting him firmly in the shop window. 

Ralf Rangnick: the German is widely tipped to become interim boss at Old Trafford

Manchester United are considering an approach for ex Leipzig manager Ralf Rangnick if they are unable to snatch Mauricio Pochettino away from PSG during the season.

The German was one of the names touted to become the Newcastle Director of Football and is now being linked with the interim role at Old Trafford.

According to the Manchester Evening News, Rangnick has been shortlisted by the Red Devils to take over on an interim basis.

His success at RB Leipzig has made him once of the most sought after coaches in the European game and he has certainly caught the eye of the hierarchy at the North-West club. 

According to the Times, Rangnick is interested in the job on an interim basis and would like stay at the club as part of the backroom staff:

“Rangnick is willing to leave his role as head of sports and development at Lokomotiv Moscow, but only if he is given a significant role at United beyond this season.”

United may welcome the interest from the German and feel that they can utilise his football knowledge to the benefit of the club.

Credit: @RBLeipzig instagram – Ralfnick interested in role at Old Trafford…

However, the Red Devils did recently appoint John Murtough as Director of Football back in January which could severely hinder Rangnick’s chances of having a permanent place in the backroom staff.

One thing is for sure, the appointment of Rangnick may take some creative planning from United but could be the ideal interim replacement as the club search for their new permanent manager.

Who would you like to see take the United hot-seat?

Join in the conversation and have your say.

More to follow…

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Meet the British Woman Hoping to End F1’s 46-year Wait For a Female Driver

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The modern sports industry remains a very male dominated field. Historically motorsport especially being one of the most inaccessible to women.

In its entire 72-year history, only two women have ever driven in a Formula 1 grand prix. The last was the pioneer Lella Lombardi, the Italian who competed in 12 races between 1974 and 1976 for teams including Williams.

Now, Britain’s Jamie Chadwick is aiming to end the 46-year wait for a woman to sit behind the wheel of a car on the starting grid at the very top level of racing.

The 23-year-old from Bath, is the most prominent woman in world the world of motorsport thanks to the strong results she has earned in the early stages of her career across multiple categories.

Chadwick is about to embark on her third season in W Series, an all-female racing championship launched in 2019 which aims to ensure more women are able to make professional careers out of motor racing.

The aim means that, in conjunction with the heated rivalry that understandably comes with battling for the championship on track, the athletes competing in W Series feel they share a common goal to help one another improve and make overall progress for women in motorsport too. Chadwick has won the title in both of W Series’ first two campaigns.

Speaking to Metro she said:  ‘Everyone expects us not to get on [because we are rivals] but we really, genuinely do. The big reason in my opinion is that we’ve all been through such a similar experience in the sport individually. We can share those experiences with each other and push each other to bring one another on, and hopefully leave the sport in a better place for the next generation coming through.’

Do you think she stands a chance of making it?

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Newcastle co-owner says Chelsea’s Abramovich having to sell isn’t fair

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Credit: Chelsea FC Instagram

Newcastle co-owner Amanda Staveley “doesnt think its particularly fair” that Roman Abramovich is selling following the Russia-Ukraine war.

The businessman announced he had made the “incredibly difficult decision” in a statement on the Premier League club’s website.

There has been calls for Abramovich to be sanctioned, as Chris Bryant alleges leaked Home Office document from 2019 shows he had links to Russian state as well as to “corrupt activity and practices” – the Guardian reports.

Speaking at the Financial Times Business of Football Summit, Staveley said: “We’re always going to have geopolitical issues.

I’m really sad that someone is going to have a football club taken away because of a relationship he may have with someone.

“I don’t think that’s particularly fair to be honest. But I also think that we have to hold all of our relationships to account.”

In his statement, Abramovich said: “I have always taken decisions with the club’s best interest at heart.

“In the current situation, I have therefore taken the decision to sell the club, as I believe this is in the best interest of the club, the fans, the employees, as well as the club’s sponsors and partners.

“The sale of the club will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process.”

Abramovich has said that he won’t be asking for loans to be repaid.

He added: “I have instructed my team to set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated. The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine.”

The businessman bought Chelsea back in 2003 for £140m, and has since loaned the club over £1.5bn.

Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss has told Swiss newspaper Blick that he has the chance to buy Chelsea.

However he says that at the moment Abramovich is “asking far too much.”

What are your thoughts?

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Russia’s captain Aleksandr Golovin speaks out on Russian invasion

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Credit: Aleksandr Golovin Instagram

Russia’s football captain Aleksandr Golovin has spoke out about the Russia-Ukraine war.

In a post uploaded to Instagram on Wednesday, the footballer said he hadn’t before now because he wasn’t an expert in politics.

However, he said he would now express his opinion, because he has been drawn to this topic from “all sides.”

It follows furious backlash from Ukrainian players Vitalii Mykolenko and Andriy Yarmolenko about Russian players staying quiet about the invasion of Ukraine.

The captain wrote: “War is a frightful thing. But I am shocked by human aggression and hatred, which every day acquires some sort of unprecedented scale.

“I am against discrimination based on nationality. I’m not ashamed that I’m Russian. I am proud to be Russian. And I don’t understand why athletes should suffer now.”

He continued he was “against double standards.”

Golovin added: “Why is it that one can do everything, but all the dogs are hanged on us. Why has everyone always shouted about sports outside of politics, but at the first opportunity, when it comes to Russia, this principle is completely forgotten?”

He expressed that “anger, dirt and bile” is being poured on Russian people, “regardless of their position and profession.”

The Zenit St Petersburg forward concluded: “P.S. And to some colleagues in the workshop who sit on their ass in mansions in England and say nasty things: it cannot offend us, we understand everything! Peace and goodness to everybody!”

On Tuesday in an Instagram post, Everton’s Mykolenko criticised Russia’s international players for remaining silent whilst “peaceful civilians are being killed in Ukraine.”

The 22-year-old wrote: “You will be locked in your dungeon for the rest of your life and most importantly the lives of your kids. And I’m glad.”

West Ham’s Yarmolenko also hit out at Russian players on Tuesday.

In a video uploaded to Instagram, he said: “Guys, why are you sitting like shitheads and not saying anything? In my country they’re killing people, killing wives, killing our children. But you’re saying nothing, you’ve given no comments.”

Russia has been suspended from all competition, Fifa and Uefa have ruled.

 

 

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