Former Manchester United defender Laurent Blanc has emerged as a shock contender to take over at the club's helm this summer if incumbent manager Louis van Gaal is shown the Old Trafford exit.
Blanc signed a two-year contract extension with current club Paris Saint-Germain just last month, per Sky Sports' Mike Patterson, but Paul Hetherington and Steve Millar of the Daily Star reported he's now being considered for the United role.
"Le President" is understood to be highly rated by ex-Manchester United manager turned director, Sir Alex Ferguson, which could see him ranked ahead of others contending for the Old Trafford position.
Jose Mourinho has been tipped as a front-runner to replace former Barcelona mentor Van Gaal, as has ex-Red Devil Ryan Giggs, who is currently serving as the Dutchman's assistant manager. The Daily Star report quoted Van Gaal, who recently hinted at his uncertain future:
I am always evaluating myself, so that is not a problem. My own belief is not incredibly positive – because the media has been sacking me for three months. But I am still in three competitions and a lot of colleagues cannot say that.
Can the FA Cup save my season? The Europa League can also save my season and a position in the first four can also save my season. It is still possible. It is very difficult – I know that. But it is still possible.
However, it's far from certain as to whether the club will opt to change managers this summer, with the report noting United's board are committed to sticking with Van Gaal despite this season's failures.
Blanc's name emerges as a brand new candidate for the United job, and South American broadcaster Juan Arango has hailed the Frenchman's managerial qualities:
Juan G. Arango @JuanG_Arango
@pjpeacock @FourFourTwoUSA Blanc is a sensational coach.3/10/2016, 2:23:00 AM
The 50-year-old finished a glittering playing career with Manchester United, where he bowed out on a high after claiming the 2002-03 Premier League crown.
His streak of success has carried into the managerial sector, too, and after leading Bordeaux to the Ligue 1 title in 2009, Blanc led the French national team for two years before taking over at the Parc des Princes.
At PSG, the 1998 World Cup winner has claimed the last two Ligue 1 titles. His PSG team are currently 22 points clear at the summit of the French top flight, not to mention taking their spot in the Champions League quarter-finals.
His success in France is well known, but BT Sport commentator Adam Summerton still feels Blanc's qualities as a manager have gone under the radar, perhaps due to the level of expectancy in Paris:
Adam Summerton @adamsummerton
For all their quality @PSG_English also now a proper team. Always think Blanc's part in that is undervalued #CHEPSG #UCL3/9/2016, 9:25:45 PM
Blanc is yet to manage a team outside his native land, but former outfit Manchester United would undoubtedly make for one of the easier choices abroad given his ties to the club.
That being said, the veteran may not be open to the idea of disrupting his current momentum in Paris, and his recent contract extension until the end of the 2017-18 season suggests he's content to remain with PSG.
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