Rabu, 23 April 2014

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Who could replace David Moyes as manager of Manchester United?

With Manchester United confirming that they have dispensed with manager David Moyes' services, it is imperative the club show much more vision in choosing his successor.

The lack of imagination was the first failure in the initial decision to pick Moyes. A year later, it remains remarkable Sir Alex Ferguson chose so poorly -- or that the decision was waved through without a proper process. It meant United got their long-heralded succession plan so badly wrong. It couldn't have gone worse.

Old Trafford sources state that Ferguson will have a much less influential role in the next decision, that the Glazer owners will be much more active. Of course, the first problem with directly replacing Ferguson was always his very presence. It was precisely because the legendary Scot was in charge for a barely imaginable 26 years that there were really just two men in the game who could directly replace him: Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola. They were the only two managers who had both the utter self-assurance and extreme success to handle the inevitable fallout from such a seismic event as Ferguson retiring.

More importantly, they were also the only two with sufficient cult of personality to make the entire narrative about them, rather than just replacing the 72-year-old.

Moyes, however, has diverted the story down an altogether different route. It is no longer about succeeding Ferguson, but saving United. That also means the job specification itself has changed. It is not quite as daunting. It does, however, need someone capable of properly electrifying the club again. There are at least a few candidates:

Louis van Gaal

The countless photos of the Dutch coach sitting alongside Robin van Persie have attracted a lot of recent attention and set many rumours in flow. Beyond that, the reality is that Tottenham Hotspur sources say Van Gaal has gone a little "colder" on the London club than a few months ago. Around January, it looked certain he would take over at White Hart Lane. Now it is very much up in the air. Van Gaal would at least restore United to the right status. He may not be the longest-term option, but half of the problem with appointing Moyes was the club over-reaching in trying to replace every aspect of Ferguson straight away -- most puzzlingly, the longevity, as if that is something that should be just handed out, rather than earned. Now, United need something more immediate. They need the right results, to again feel like the club they should be. Van Gaal would restore it.

He would instil a resilience so the club can build again from a higher platform. For all of the notorious stories about how difficult he is, trophies have come rather easily to him. This is a man who has won a Champions League with Ajax, guided Bayern Munich to the final for the first time in a decade, won two leagues with Barcelona and then one -- most remarkably -- with AZ. That is success across two decades, and from a broad range of challenges. In that, it is almost reminiscent of Ferguson. United need to remember how to win.

Diego Simeone

Almost everyone who has worked with the Argentine approvingly returns to the single description: "He is the next Mourinho." That should sound appealing enough to United, but the reality is even more promising: Simeone is becoming a properly world-class coach in his own right.

The facts of his immense feats at Atletico Madrid are hugely impressive. With a revenue that is less than a third of superclubs such as Real Madrid and Chelsea, the Argentine has led Atletico to the top of La Liga and the semifinals of the Champions League, excitingly defying modern football economics. The approach is as exhilarating as that achievement. Through a strikingly intense work rate, Simeone has merged a cast-iron defence with an invigorating attack -- and that despite losing the likes of Radamel Falcao.

Without Diego Costa, meanwhile, Atletico offered one of the most breathless spells of football this season with the opening 20 minutes of their Champions League semifinal against Barcelona. It decided that tie, and has helped decide the mind of many Old Trafford board members. Sources state some are extremely vocal that he should be the next manager. The stumbling block is the sense of project he is putting together at Atletico, but there is leverage in how little Simeone is paid compared to other elite managers. He gets just 2.5 million euros a year, far removed from Mourinho's 14 million euros. That presents an opportunity for United. Simeone would provide them with the right outlook. As he told owner Miguel Angel Gil when he took over in December 2011: "I'm going to make it unpleasant to play us, teams are going to suffer." United would almost certainly stop suffering.

Juergen Klopp

If he doesn't yet have the success of Mourinho or Guardiola, he certainly has the force of personality. Quite simply, Klopp is in the next tier down from those two as a manager but the likeliest of everyone else to join them. There is just something so exciting about the German. Even aside from his whole approach, the style of play, and the sheer charisma, Klopp sends a ripple through the game. It might be an obvious example, but you only have to listen to the way a figure such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic talks about him.

The Borussia Dortmund coach would breathe life into Old Trafford again and completely change the dynamic. Beyond those kinds of intangibles, too, there is the way he is trying to push boundaries in the game. Klopp practises truly modern football. The encouraging news for United is that chief executive Ed Woodward is known to be a huge admirer. The bad news is that the 46-year-old has repeatedly said -- both in public and in private -- he does not plan to leave Dortmund until 2018.

In that regard, Dortmund's recent second-leg 2-0 win over Real Madrid in the Champions League quarterfinals could have been the worst result for United. Klopp's side may have been eliminated, but the manner in which they came so excitingly close to a supreme comeback may have restored the manager's faith, and may have offered encouragement that he can revive the team again after so many setbacks.

Despite that, there is known to be an ever-so-slight chance he would leave. It is a statement United simply must test to the fullest. He would represent a proper new era for the club. This is the man the English champions should be striving for.

Antonio Conte

One of those upwardly mobile coaches in the tier behind Klopp. It perhaps could even be said Conte is where the German was around 2011, blazing through the domestic game but still just on the cusp of a proper statement on the continent. Even if he still has some way to go in that regard, the Italian's winning record is significantly further along than that of Moyes. His imaginative approach to tactics would also rid United of this dismally predictable rigidity. They would be an engaging team to watch again, and there would be a sense of something modern about them again. The same would apply to a coach like Frank de Boer. Conte, essentially, would bring a somewhat retrograde team right into the realities of 2014.

Other candidates
Roberto Martinez: Part of a new breed of ultra-positive coaches -- in every sense -- along with Brendan Rodgers. Make no mistake, the Spaniard would be well capable of the leap, despite the fact he was relegated with Wigan just a year ago. The significant financial caveats to that, not to mention an FA Cup triumph, mean it was not the failure that has been portrayed. Martinez has the right outlook, philosophy and mentality. The one stumbling block would be his reluctance to make the leap from Everton so soon, given how many offers he turned down at Wigan before deciding the appropriate time to go. He is building something very good at Goodison Park. He could build something even bigger at Old Trafford.

Frank de Boer: The former Dutch international has reached something of a plateau at Ajax, the club's inherent ceiling meaning his excellent outlook can no longer have the same effect. That would simply not be the same at a club like United.

Rudi Garcia: Another who has defied expectation and economics in Serie A, while also playing the kind of unpredictable football that has energised his club Roma.

source: http://espnfc.com/blog/_/name/espnfcunited/id/13970?cc=4716

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