Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s days as Manchester United manager would appear to be numbered and the press are busy speculating about who might take over the reigns at the world’s biggest club.
The early front runner in the rumour mill was Antonio Conte, but when he was snapped up by Spurs earlier this month, reports have mostly focussed on Ajax’s Erik ten Hag, PSG’s Mauricio Pochettino, former Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane and Leciester City’s Brendan Rodgers.
Over the last 24 hours, a new name has occupied a lot of the headlines, Spain’s national team coach, Luis Enrique.
Enrique, 51, has a wealth of managerial experience, having been head coach at Barcelona for three years, and before that, Celta Vigo and AS Roma.
The reports seem to have grown like wildfire from a single line in a Manchester Evening News article yesterday.
The article, ostensibly about Leicester City’s Brendan Rodgers being the most likely successor to Solskjaer, merely stated ‘United figures are impressed by Ajax coach Erik Ten Hag and the Spain coach Luis Enrique, but Rodgers has been provisionally identified as the most suitable successor to Solskjaer.’
The MEN does not disclose any source for this statement about the Spaniard nor explain upon what information it is based.
A search of previous articles on the subject reveals only one, from 9th November, from the same outlet, The MEN.
That article by reporter Mike Parrott was merely an opinion piece about four national team coaches who could be suitable for the post. It puts forward Enrique as an option but makes no claim that the club is interested in him.
Yesterday’s article is therefore perhaps a cheeky spanner that reporter Samuel Luckhurst has thrown into the works and one that has been eagerly and readily gobbled up by other headline-hungry outlets.
The bookies do not seem very convinced by the rumour, with the Spaniard’s odds varying around 33 to 50 to one despite the flurry of reports – longer than the 25’s quoted for Cristiano Ronaldo.
Right now, a high profile new name associated with the United position is gold dust to the press, but based on our search, this one does not appear to have much substance to it at all.