David Moyes has been sacked as Manchester United boss, confirmed by the club's official Twitter account on Tuesday:
BREAKING: Manchester United announces that David Moyes has left the club. (part 1 of 2) #mufc— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 22, 2014
BREAKING: The club would like to place on record its thanks for the hard work, honesty and integrity he brought to the role. (part 2 of 2)— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 22, 2014
The news has instantly thrust the likes of Jurgen Klopp, Louis van Gaal and Diego Simeone into the headlines as the Red Devils' potential new leader.
Here, we detail the latest rumours and speculation on the leading candidates to take over at Old Trafford.
Latest on Manchester United's Potential Next Manager
Perhaps the name most United fans want to see installed as their new overseer is Klopp. The Borussia Dortmund manager hasn't endured the best of seasons after providing little resistance in the Bundesliga title race, but his brand of attacking football would fit in perfectly at Old Trafford.
The Daily Mail's Joe Strange suggests Klopp "is one of the favourites" to succeed Moyes. Ed Malyon of the Mirror indicates the German "is being courted" by United, but told fans "don't hold your breath" when trying to pursue a manager who is loved at the Westfalenstadion.
Raphael Honigstein of The Guardian also took this standpoint, claiming there is no chance of Klopp heading to England:
Klopp to Man Utd chances hover near the zero per cent mark. Not *totally* impossible but close enough— Raphael Honigstein (@honigstein) April 21, 2014
Interestingly, Wayne Veysey of Goal.com indicates Honigstein was initially correct, but Klopp may be coming round to the idea:
He is believed to have initially held reservations about the post but sources have said that the 46-year-old has subsequently had a change of heart and there is growing confidence at Old Trafford that he could be persuaded to move to the Premier League.
However, Ben Burrows of the Mirror reported Tuesday Klopp told The Guardian he has "ruled himself out of the running" for the position.
Klopp made his name by creating a Dortmund side that maintains possession, attacks relentlessly and constantly works hard to regain the ball. He is famed for getting the best out of players—none more so than Shinji Kagawa, who is now struggling at United—and is the type of manager who would lift the dressing room with his spirit and charisma.
He is a totally different character to Moyes, someone who looks to win games no matter the opponent. It seems Klopp naturally does things closer to the "United way" than his potential predecessor, but although he may be the favourite among fans, could be the least likely to take over from Moyes.
Louis van Gaal
If there's a manager who can steady United's ship, it's Van Gaal. A proven winner with Barcelona, Ajax and Bayern Munich, the Dutch coach "is ready to succeed" Moyes if given the opportunity, reported by David McDonnell and Alan Nixon of the Mirror.
Who should be Manchester United's next manager?
Charles Perrin of the Express indicates Van Gaal is the "leading contender," while the Daily Star's Jeremy Cross believes he is United's "No.1 choice" to take over from the troubled Scottish manager. While United "have nothing signed with Van Gaal," Matt Lawton of the Daily Mail alludes to the 62-year-old's positive relationship with Robin van Persie, who has allegedly remained unhappy since Moyes took over.
Van Gaal has been linked with the United job for a number of weeks and appears the most obvious choice due to his pedigree and circumstances. He is quitting his role as Dutch boss after the World Cup and previously confirmed he wishes to manage a "top team" in England, saying he aims to add the league title from a fourth country to his collection, per Neil McLeman of the Mirror.
United would be wise to add Van Gaal in the short term. He is the type of meticulous individual who can quickly improve the side's tactical situation and return the squad's confidence to the standards United fans expect. He is also used to dealing with big-name players, those who may oppose him, and commands respect in a way Moyes may have struggled to.
Although an outside shout right now, Simeone's excellent season with Atletico Madrid has put him in the running for the United job. Matt Law of The Telegraph (subscription required) writes, "Simeone is among the managers United will consider," while Sam Pilger of FourFourTwo suggests he isn't experienced enough for the hot seat:
The new MUFC manager should be Jurgen Klopp; a proven winner. Simeone is still a work in progress, and Van Gaal is yesterday's man #MUFC— Sam Pilger (@sampilger) April 21, 2014
Simeone stands on the brink of unthinkable La Liga victory with Atletico—a feat that would see him slay both the Barcelona and Real Madrid giants in Spain—while his side also remain in the Champions League. Should United wish to install a younger manager, someone who arrives with fresh ideas and something to prove, the Argentinian is a smart choice.
At this stage, the United hierarchy may wish to lure someone whose record is proven across many years and teams. Moyes' lack of trophies is well documented and stands as a symbol for those who believe he is out of his depth. United may wish to bypass this situation again with a boss who is proven across multiple tenures.
This developing situation is set to move quickly. After United called time on the Moyes era, expect to hear plenty more about Klopp, Van Gaal and Simeone's chances of agreeing to an Old Trafford reign.