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Five potential candidates who could replace Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford

Living

Louis van Gaal is on the brink of the boot at Manchester United after another defeat this afternoon.

The Red Devils lost against Stoke, making it four losses in a row and seven without a win.

Under-fire van Gaal urged his Reds to stick together after their latest setback and told them to believe in themselves despite a poor run.

Man United face Chelsea on Monday.

But if the Manchester United board don’t share Van Gaal's view, who could the club look to as a replacement for the Dutchman?

Jose Mourinho

Mourinho has just become available after being sacked by Chelsea following the club’s worst ever start to a Premier League campaign.

Nine defeats from the champions’ opening 16 games saw Roman Abramovich finally lose patience with the Special One and pull the trigger.

Sections of the Old Trafford crowd were heard calling to the former Chelsea manager during the loss to Norwich City.

The Manchester giants would not have to pay compensation as Mourinho is a free agent but the Portuguese would command a hefty wage packet.

He is known to covet the United job and has already signalled his intention to remain in England and says he has no plans to take a sabbatical.

That means he would be ready to step into van Gaal’s shoes immediately, setting up a must-see clash with Chelsea on December 28.

Pep Guardiola

The Bayern Munich boss has confirmed that he will be leaving the German club at the end of the season and his reputation ensures he will be considered for any top European job on offer.

Manchester United made a move before the David Moyes era, while Guardiola has been tipped to take over at Manchester City in the future.

Guardiola has showcased his abilities in Spain and Germany - will the possibility of success in the Premier League appeal to him?

Rio Ferdinand has urged United to pull out all the stops to sign the former Barcelona favourite as he is unlikely to move between Manchester clubs if he chooses City as his next destination.

He won’t be going anywhere right now but if United choose to stick with van Gaal until the summer then they could enter a bidding war for Guardiola in the summer.

Diego Simeone

The Atletico Madrid boss would definitely be in demand if he decided it was time for a new challenge after four-and-a-half years in charge at the Vicente Calderon.

Simeone won the La Liga title with Atleti in 2014, breaking Real Madrid and Barcelona's duopoly in Spain.

He reached the Champions League final in the same season, with only an injury-time Sergio Ramos header denying his team a famous win.

Atletico didn't win anything last season, but Simeone kept them relevant, guiding them to third in La Liga and a respectable quarter-final berth in the Champions League.

However, with no disrespect to Atletico, it's reasonable to assume he has aspirations of managing one of Europe's elite clubs.

Simeone has a no nonsense style and would take no prisoners at Old Trafford - and surely enough water has passed under the bridge since his antics got former Red Devils man David Beckham sent off at the 1998 World Cup.

Ryan Giggs

Adored by the Manchester United fans, Ryan Giggs would be a popular choice and get the immediate backing of the Stretford End.

United's record appearance holder and the most decorated footballer ever to grace the Old Trafford pitch as a Red Devil.

He is currently van Gaal's number two and the Dutchman has intimated he expects the Welshman to succeed him in the dugout, with Sir Alex Ferguson also lending his support.

Giggs took over as caretaker manager after the departure of David Moyes, overseeing the final four games of the 2013-14 Premier League season.

He won two, drew one and lost one of his matches in charge, putting a strong emphasis on giving youth a chance.

He enlisted the help of former team-mates Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt during that time and would be likely to include at least some of those names in his backroom staff should he get the nod.

Gary Neville

Neville has recently taken his first steps into management by being named as Valencia’s head coach until the end of the season in a shock appointment.

The 40-year-old remains a part of England’s coaching set-up with Roy Hodgson and would be another popular choice after a glittering career at Old Trafford.

Neville’s relationship as a tactician grew with his impressive role as a pundit while working for Sky Sports and is not afraid of a challenge.

He had a difficult start to life in Spain as Valencia failed to reach the Champions League knockout stages following defeat to Lyon in his first game in charge.

His experience in La Liga will only broad his coaching horizons and leave him in a better position to be considered for jobs like the United hotseat at the end of the campaign.

Much like with Guardiola, Neville would not be available immediately, and the Red Devils would need to wait until the summer before making their move.

 

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