This week, reports have been rife surrounding Sir Alex Ferguson ‘impending’ retirement. Dates have been bandied about as well as potential replacements for the Scot, but what about the man himself, who does he see as he heir in waiting?
It comes as no surprise that Fergie has been sounding out a fellow Scot for the position, as Everton boss David Moyes has apparently been pitched to the United board. Bookies favourite Jose Mourinho is still a major candidate, and he is yet to rule himself out, but few would deny Moyes a shot at the big-time, with his work at Everton so highly-regarded.
SunSport reported that both Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton – both influential members of the Old Trafford hierarchy – are not fully convinced that Mourinho would be the right man for the Red Devils’ job and that Moyes would be a more natural successor to Sir Alex. Fergie, 68, allegedly believes that Moyes can provide the continuity that the Old Trafford faithful will crave and that it is only right to give a British manager the chance in a big job. The news could potentially be a blow to Mourinho, who enjoyed a competitive relationship with the United boss whilst he was manager at Chelsea and had been reported in the past to fancy succeeding the Scot. The Inter Milan boss has openly stated that there is no love lost between himself and the Italian Press and Football Association, which immediately sparked rumours over his future. He remains the bookmakers’ favourite to take charge at Old Trafford once Ferguson has decided to retire at the club he has been managing since 1986, but is Moyes a better candidate than the mercurial and tactical genius that is Jose Mourinho?
Moyes, 46, has enjoyed a successful tenure as Everton boss and boasts an impressive CV. Since taking charge of the Toffees he has consistently challenged for the European places in the Premier League and in 2005 broke the ‘top four’ dominance by finishing in fourth – above their more illustrious neighbours Liverpool. On the other hand, Mourinho already has big club experience and has won championships in Portugal, England and Italy. The Inter boss came to prominence after his unfancied Porto side knocked Manchester United out of the Champions League and went on to win the competition in 2004. At Chelsea he managed to win back-to-back titles and a handful of domestic cups, but after a falling out with Roman Abramovich, he was gone.
Although his record speaks for itself, there are many reasons why the Red Devils’ bosses may opt for Moyes instead. Firstly, the issue of debt has become an issue at Old Trafford and the Scot is proven to have an excellent record for finding a bargain, with Phil Jagielka, Mikel Arteta and Tim Cahill being just a few of Moyes’ bargain buys. The former Preston boss also has an excellent record bringing through young players, like Leon Osman, Jack Rodwell and most famously Wayne Rooney, who is now United’s talisman. In comparison Mourinho has enjoyed a more than healthy transfer budget at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan. Also, the former Chelsea manager plays a more defensive and tactical brand of football which may not go down so well with the Old Trafford faithful.
Both are young managers and excellent candidates for the job. It looks likely that it will be one of the two, but who? Only time will tell.