More Managerial Links For United But Patience Would Be Wise

With Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his Ineos team now having got their feet firmly under the desk of Manchester United’s football operations set up, and a number of changes already having taken place, it is quite an exciting time for fans of the Red Devils, but it is also a pretty uncertain period given all the speculation that continues to swirl when it comes to the future of manager Erik ten Hag.

We all know the stories that are doing the rounds on the rumour mill right now, and we have the full breadth of contrary claims. Ten Hag is definitely set for the sack despite the massive compensation pay out it would require. He is definitely staying for another year as Ratcliffe wants there to be some kind of continuity at Old Trafford whilst he continues to work on the over all structure of the club.

Boylesports football would definitely have odds on our potential future managerial options, not least given all the talk about current England head coach Gareth Southgate, and it is not unfair to say that the rumours linking us with having an interest in the 53 year old former professional centre half, have definitely divided the fans given the relative merits of such an appointment, and what many feel are his significant coaching draw backs.

We now rather expectedly have new links this week, and there are claims being made that we have no interest in appointing Southgate as Ten Hag’s replacement, but we have decided that current Real Madrid gaffer Carlo Ancelotti is well out of reach, so we are looking at Brentford’s Thomas Frank.

It is being suggested that the Southgate rumours stemmed more from right hand man, Sir Dave Brailsford who is a strong admirer, but amongst our new hierarchy that is certainly not a unanimous choice when it comes to him being the right man to lead us into the future.

There is no doubting that Frank has done a very good job at Brentford over the past six seasons following his original appointment, but much like Southgate, the link to him will raise eyebrows and lead to big questions being asked. Off pitch, Brentford have been incredibly well run and have been on an upward curve irrespective of who has been in the dug out, so how would he cope with the step up to a club with our expectation levels, and one putting a proper structure in place?

It would be a risk, even if his more attacking ethos and background of working with youngsters and developing players were massive plus points in his direction.

A slight pivot to the story is that it is also being suggested that whilst Ratcliffe remains 50/50 on what Ten Hag’s future at Man Utd could hold, it is likely that he will remain with us for next season as better continuity, especially as our new minority owner would like to make further progress with the structure – namely the eventual appointment of Dan Ashworth – before such a big change is actually made.

That makes sense, as instead of lurching from manager to manager, if we do ultimately make a change, it makes far more sense for us to have a unified working vision for what we want from that gaffer, and then in effect, future proofing our preferred style of play by having a group of alternatives that we can quickly jump on, if an appointment loses their mojo – but one that is already grounded in our existing ethos.

First things first though, end 2023/24 on a high before we get carried away beyond that.

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