If Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fails to turn things around after a dreadful start to the season, the board will have no choice but to replace him.
There has been a great deal of speculation as to who might take over the reins from the Norwegian, with the likes of Ajax’s Erik ten Hag, Leicester City’s Brendan Rodgers, PSG’s Mauricio Pochettino and former Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane all being linked.
Someone who has not attracted much attention, but who should be considered a serious candidate, is FC Porto manager Sérgio Conceição.
Conceição has managed Porto since 2017 when he took over from the former Wolves and Spurs manager, Nuno Espirito Santo. In his first season he led the side to the domestic championship for the first time in five years, and they have been either winners or runners up every year since.
The Dragons could be said to have overachieved in Europe under Conceição as well, reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League in four out of his six seasons in charge.
The 46-year-old’s previous managerial career was successful if not without some controversy. His only sacking was at SC Braga but this was as a result of a bad argument with the club president and not because of results, which were good.
It is perhaps more Conceição’s style of play rather than his track record that could make him a good candidate for the United job, however.
He is a master tactician, his sides play extremely neat, well drilled, compact football at a high technical level with explosive attacking formations, making them hard to break down at the back and which exploits the talents of his front players to the maximum.
This is arguably exactly what the Red Devils need.
In addition, the fact that Conceição is Portuguese could be a bonus given that two of the most influential players in the current squad are Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes. It might also be something that would help Diogo Dalot fulfil his obvious potential.
The likes of Fred and Andreas Pereira, the latter currently on loan at Flamengo, are also native Portuguese speakers and could benefit from that ease of communication.
As a player, the Coimbra man was a winger, and as such he could also be a big asset in helping to get the best out of the likes of Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial. The progress of Colombian Luis Diaz at Porto is a testament to his ability to allow wide front men to express themselves and show their flair in a constructive way, yet still within a system in which everyone knows their role.
Of course, having not managed in the Premier League, nor in Serie A or Spain’s Liga, The Portuguese has not been tested at the highest level – although that Champions League experience is impressive. But he is a highly respected coach with a burgeoning reputation who could certainly bring United to another level without sacrificing the attacking spirit that the club and its fans demand.