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Jim White: Ed Woodward Says Top People in the Game Want Man Utd Job

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2018

HULL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 27: Ed Woodward arrives at the stadium during the Premier League match between Hull City and Manchester United at KCOM Stadium on August 27, 2016 in Hull, England.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

TalkSport presenter Jim White says Manchester United's executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, told him the "top people in the game" are keen to take over as the club's manager, although no appointment will be made until the end of the season.

The Red Devils axed Jose Mourinho recently after the club's worst-ever start to a Premier League season, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer coming in to replace the Portuguese on a contract until the end of the campaign.

According to White, Woodward has told him there are a number of high-profile candidates interested in succeeding the Norwegian:

"Ed Woodward told me, on the record, that last week was not a proud one for Manchester United. He said the club now needed to undergo the proper process of finding the right manager and that nothing will be announced before the end of the season.

"He said he'd been inundated with applications and recommendations—the top people in the game want this job. But he said, at the end of the day, nothing will be announced before the end of the season.

“He also said [owners] the Glazers are huge United traditionalists and they want to emphasise that they want things to be run the Manchester United way."

Daniel Harris of the Guardian said he doesn't put too much stock in what Woodward has to say:

Daniel Harris @DanielHarris

Reminder that Ed Woodward is as dishonest as the day is long. https://t.co/h9nQNQeGKx

According to Mark Ogden of ESPN FC, the Red Devils have Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino as their primary target to take over as manager. It was reported by The Times the Spurs boss is keen to be considered for the position too.

Ogden added that Mourinho was unwilling to work under a director of football, with United said to be considering revamping their backroom setup.

David Conn of the Guardian commented on the issues at the top of the club that have contributed to its predicament:

David Conn @david_conn

Glazers at Manchester United: impose £525m debt, appoint their banker Ed Woodward to run club; fail to plan Ferguson succession, burn through managers' reputations including Mourinho; take ££ms in dividends.

Solskjaer has enjoyed a strong start to life in the United dugout. His first game in charge saw a rejuvenated side beat Cardiff City 5-1, while his Old Trafford return culminated in a 3-1 win over Huddersfield Town.

Despite the positivity the Norwegian has brought to the club in the early stages of his tenure, football writer Liam Canning said he would be unsure about giving the former United forward the job on a full-time basis:

Liam Canning @LiamPaulCanning

Don't know if this unpopular or not, but I'd be very hesitant to give Ole Gunnar Solskjær the full-time job, unless he wins the Champions League. My number one preference is still Mauricio Pochettino.

It's clear there is a huge job to do at United for the person who takes the position on a long-term basis, with the team a long way off rivals Manchester City and Liverpool. However, United do carry an allure that few other outfits can match.

UEFA Champions League football in 2019-20 would help the new man in charge, but Solskjaer has a lot of ground to make up on the top four if the Red Devils are to qualify for next year's competition. Ahead of Sunday's match with Bournemouth, they sit in sixth spot, eight points behind Chelsea in fourth.

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