Manchester United are considering Ernesto Valverde, Rudi Garcia, Lucien Favre, Ralf Rangnick and Paulo Fonseca as interim managers, say reports, as they bide their time for top target Mauricio Pochettino.
Michael Carrick has been put in charge of the team on a temporary basis since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked last week.
The Premier League club decided there were too many hurdles preventing them from appointing the former Spurs manager after using a third party to find out if a mid-season move was possible.
Instead, their plan is to bring in an experienced man to guide the club for the rest of the season, and a five-man shortlist has been drawn up.
That includes former Barcelona coach Valverde, ex-Lyon boss Garcia, Lokomotiv Moscow’s head of sports and development Rangnick, former Borussia Dortmund manager Favre and Fonseca, who departed Roma in the summer.
Whoever comes in, it 's understood that they would depart Old Trafford at the end of 2021-22 to make way for a new permanent manager.
It’s an awkward situation for United to be in, being unable to get the target they want, but needing a more experienced man than Carrick to lead them through the long campaign ahead.
All five of the candidates for the caretaker role are well-travelled, although none of them have Premier League experience.
Whether the allure of a stint on the Red Devils bench is enough to convince them to sign, despite the likelihood of it being a brief spell, is another question.
There's still a long way to go this season. Less than a third of United’s Premier League games have been played, while the Champions League group stages aren’t even over yet.
If they get the right man in the door, a disappointing start could yet be turned into a successful campaign.
United currently sit eighth in the league table, 12 points off top and six outside the top four, but Carrick led them into the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday with a 2-0 win over Villarreal.
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