Louis van Gaal and 8 Contenders to Replace David Moyes at Manchester United
The official club website confirmed it early on Tuesday morning, after an evening of speculation and suggestion. Their parting message to the former boss was short and not overly sweet, merely thanking him for "hard work, honesty and integrity."
While the fallout as to the reasons why he failed and why retired manager Alex Ferguson's trust in him was so flawed will shortly come under intense scrutiny, the immediate talk will be about who will replace the latest Scot in the United hot seat.
It's possible that temporary appointments might be made until season's end—Ryan Giggs is currently the interim manager—but here are perhaps the eight most likely names to take over, sooner or later.
Louis van Gaal
Current Holland national team manager Louis van Gaal is tipped for a managerial role in the Premier League next season, having already indicated he will step down from international management after the World Cup.
While the likes of Spurs have also been mentioned in connection with Van Gaal, Manchester United are a far bigger club with far loftier expectations. That is likely to appeal to Van Gaal.
John Cross of the Daily Mirror feels Van Gaal will land the job, but he does not feel it is the right move. Taking to Twitter, Cross wrote: "I think it'll be Louis Van Gaal up next. Not sure it's right choice though."
The Amsterdam-born manager was formerly with Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Ajax, while this is his second stint with his national team.
Borussia Dortmund's Jurgen Klopp is perhaps the most in-demand manager in world football at the present time.
He would quite probably be accepted anywhere a managerial vacancy existed, and that would surely include Old Trafford.
Klopp's style on the pitch and the touchline is both noted and impressive, and his approach to the game would surely suit Manchester United (and the top end of the Premier League) more than Moyes' did.
Whether BVB will let him leave, or whether Klopp wants to, is another matter.
Current player-coach Ryan Giggs is likely to be placed in charge of the first team until the end of the season, per the Press Association (h/t The Guardian). That will give him a chance to put forward his own credentials.
Recent reports about Giggs' potential candidacy have conveyed conflicting news. Rob Harris of the Associated Press tweeted Tuesday that Giggs will not receive consideration for the full-time job due to his lack of managerial experience. However, ESPN FC's Miguel Delaney writes that Giggs has a chance, though Louis van Gaal is United's top choice.
While a first-time boss might not be the ideal scenario, having a player in place who doubtless commands the respect of the dressing room and knows the success story of United over the past two decades will absolutely be a huge positive for the club, however long it lasts.
UPDATE: Giggs has now officially been announced as the caretaker manager for the last three games.
Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone is challenging top bosses and clubs for top honours these days. He won two cups in two years with his side and is now going for a La Liga and Champions League double.
Tactically astute and clearly capable of handling the big occasion, Simeone is arguably not far behind Klopp in the wanted stakes.
Winning La Liga, which looks likely at present, could be the pinnacle of his Atletico career and the perfect time to depart.
Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville now spends most of his working time in a television studio, though he is also a coach with the England national team.
Noted as one of the most insightful minds in the game, Neville is expected to take up a coaching role at some point, though it's entirely possible he feels that this opportunity has come too soon.
He would no doubt be welcomed back at Old Trafford. Perhaps working alongside Giggs could be a possibility, though Neville himself as boss should be considered an unlikely choice at this point.
Frank de Boer
Ajax manager Frank de Boer is not far from securing a fourth consecutive Eredivisie title this season, and though he has turned down approaches from England in the past in favour of continuing this Dutch-based project, now could be the right time for him to move on.
He has been largely unable to see his side excel in European competition, with plenty of their best players still keen to move elsewhere after a season or two of success.
De Boer deserves a shot with a much bigger side, in a bigger league, considering the football and consistency he has produced with Ajax.
Louis van Gaal isn't the only national team manager who should be considered.
Joachim Low has proven to be an excellent tactical and technical trainer with Germany over the years. Although it would perhaps take a lot of persuasion to prise him away from his national side, jobs don't come an awful lot bigger than restructuring the playing staff of Manchester United.
At the club level, Low hasn't managed a club bigger than Fenerbahce, a stint that lasted just a year, which may be a concern. He's a far different coach now, though.
Last but not least, trigger-happy Real Madrid could easily decide to dispense with the considerable talents of Carlo Ancelotti if he fails to deliver a major trophy this summer, despite this season yielding Real's best and most impressive offensive team in some time.
If they were so careless as to discard him after a year, Manchester United—and everyone else in need of a top boss—would be even more careless to reject the chance to approach him.