Manchester United players want Mauricio Pochettino as next manager

There is growing support among Manchester United players for Mauricio Pochettino to become the next manager, with the club intensifying their process now Ed Woodward has left.

Paris Saint-Germain coach Pochettino was prepared to join United mid-season and his position at the Ligue 1 champions could become untenable if they are eliminated by Real Madrid in the Champions League round-of-16.

the Manchester Evening News reported last month United are determined to hire their next permanent manager before the end of the season and Pochettino is believed to be the most popular pick among the players. The club is also understood to be confident of hiring Pochettino due to his long-standing interest in managing United.

The former Tottenham manager is still in touch with United left-back Luke Shaw, whom Pochettino managed at Southampton, and his body of work in the Premier League has impressed several United players.

United explored the possibility of releasing Pochettino from his PSG contract in November but a familiar source with discussions said the Qatari-owned club ‘played hardball’.

Pochettino held out for the United job during his 13 months out of work after he left Tottenham and although the club made an informal approach, they stuck by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Multiple sources have confirmed new chief executive Richard Arnold will not be heavily involved in football matters but he would have to request sign-off on any managerial appointment from co-chairman Joel Glazer.

Ajax coach Erik ten Hag is still under consideration and believed to be Pochettino’s main rival. Both coaches are contracted to their current clubs until next year.

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There were developments in United’s process to settle on Solskjaer’s full-time successor in mid-January and the club could secure an agreement well in advance of the summer transfer window’s opening date of July 1.

A source familiar with the process says United believe ‘the sooner, the better’ a manager is appointed, with the club mindful of Tottenham’s farcical efforts to replace Jose Mourinho in the summer. The United football director John Murtough is believed to be heading up the process, with interim manager Ralf Rangnick also involved before he starts his consultancy role on July 1. Rangnick is a particular admirer of Ten Hag.

United are also determined to avoid a repeat of the timeframe of David Moyes’s arrival in 2013. The club confirmed Moyes would replace Sir Alex Ferguson on May 9 but decided against paying Everton compensation to release Moyes from his contract which expired on June 30. Moyes officially started work at United on July 1 and has since admitted he regrets the delay.

Mourinho took over at United on May 27 in 2016 and the club enjoyed one of their most impressive summers in the transfer market. Solskjaer was infamously upgraded from caretaker to permanent manager on March 28 and United won two of their last 10 games of the season, losing six.

If an agreement is reached it is unclear if United would make a formal announcement similar to Manchester City’s confirmation Pep Guardiola would replace Manuel Pellegrini on February 1 in 2016, given the likelihood Solskjaer’s full-time replacement is currently employed.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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