A run of just one win in five games has seen extra pressure being firmly applied to under-fire Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The pitiful nature of Saturday’s defeat at the hands of Leicester City has intensified the debate about his ability to turn United into genuine title-challengers.
While the official line is that his relative success in rebuilding the ailing Reds makes his position safe, that hasn’t stemmed the conversation about possible replacements.
Sport Witness recently covered a story on El Chiringuito suggesting that United attacker Cristiano Ronaldo had told the club to approach Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane.
However, this sudden explosion of ‘Zidane to United’ talk was immediately scotched by well-connected French journalist Frédéric Hermel.
Hermel’s fairly blunt reaction was to tweet that Zizou “…has never been interested in the Premier League and surely never will be.”
Coming from a writer known to have strong links to the Real legend, that seemed like a fairly swift ending to the story. However…
Although the original link appeared to be little more than mischief-making on the part of El Chiringuito, it hasn’t stopped former France coach Raymond Domenech from weighing in on the subject.
As covered, again, by Sport Witness, Domenech has argued that the lack of obvious routes back into top-level management means the former Real and France icon should seriously consider any approach from Old Trafford.
The former France manager said, “What job is he made for when he’s been a multiple Champions League with Real Madrid? What’s left? City, United, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich?
“There’s five or six clubs. After that, if he takes another club, they’re a step down for him, for someone of his level.
“There comes a point when you can’t let that possibility slip. He’s also got, with Ronaldo, a direct relay, a translator from Spanish to English.
“He’ll also get away from people who say he only achieved what he did because it was Real Madrid, because he knew the players and he’ll prove he’s really a top manager.
“That’s why I tell him: go for it. Or stay in your comfort, but I don’t think that’s his desire.”
Domenech does have a point. With all of the other top clubs having firmly established managers, there aren’t too many prestigious options available to Zidane right now.
Even so, the (possibly) unreliable origin of these links make the whole affair seem like conjecture. And that’s before asking the not unimportant question, ‘Would Zidane even be the right man for United?’
True or false, it’s a rumour that’s likely to gather even more pace if Solskjaer’s Reds slip up in tonight’s must-win Champions League tie with Atalanta.