Manchester United’s search for a new manager has been no great secret, with a host of elite-level names in the frame for the soon-to-be-vacant Old Trafford hotseat.
Having dispensed with club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following that infamous autumnal collapse against Watford, the North-West makers and shakers subsequently installed Ralf Rangnick in the dugout on an interim basis, with the German set to move into a consultancy role at the end of his temporary tenure.
As a result of that upcoming transition, there will be a vacant post going for the Man Utd job, and the Glazer family will have no shortage of suitors when the summer months roll around, with talks already thought to be underway with a few candidates.
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Among those to be tipped with a move to Man United are former Tottenham manager and current PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino, Thomas Tuchel — a recent inductee following Chelsea’s off-field dilemmas — and Ajax’s highly-coveted tactician Erik ten Hag.
However, a new name has entered the ‘serious’ conversation, with former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini recently seeing his odds slashed following Italy’s disastrous World Cup qualifying campaign, in which the European champions exited the play-offs at the expense of North Macedonia.
The Italian manager’s odds have subsequently been cut to just 16/1 overnight with Betfair. Ten Hag remains the favourite at 1/3, while Pochettino comes in next at 5/1 and Tuchel completes the top three of leading contenders at 15/2.
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Having led Italy to Euro 2020 glory in the summer, Mancini now faces an uncertain period as Azzurri boss, as the nation became the first since Greece in 2006 to fail to qualify for a World Cup as the reigning European champions, with this being their second successive tournament absence.
Despite emerging a one of the front-runners following that disaster in Palermo on Thursday night, Mancini’s link to Man Utd is nothing new. When asked about the potential of succeeding Rangnick in December, Mancini was forced to deny claims an agreement had already been reached between himself and the club.
“A verbal agreement with a Premier League club? All false,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“My only goal is to get to the World Cup and be able to win it.”
Well, now that those aspirations of World Cup glory are up in smoke, could a Premier League return be on the table? Man Utd’s ears would certainly have pricked up when news of Italy’s elimination filtered through.