Julen Lopetegui is “licking his lips” at the prospect of being Manchester United’s next manager.
The former Real Madrid and Rayo Vallecano head coach is currently unemployed, having left Wolverhampton Wanderers after nine months due to differences with the board.
However, according to Estadio Deportivo, the former Real Madrid and Barcelona keeper “is in no hurry” to find another job.
“He does not want to get on any ‘boat’ and in the meantime, he continues to reside in England awaiting events,” the outlet claims.
The Spanish paper reports that “his phone has not stopped ringing with offers from different parts of the world”, but says that he is holding out in the hope of being appointed to an “elite English club”, specifically, to United.
Lopetegui, Estadio says, is “licking his lips at the possibility of reaching the Old Trafford bench.”
Money is not a motivation, and this is why he declined an offer of €18 million to manage Saudi Arabian team, Al Ittihad.
The controversial report says that it is just a matter of time before Erik ten Hag gets his marching orders from Old Trafford by Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s INEOS, who are taking control of football operations at the club following their 25% investment.
Estadio insists that Ten Hag will be the “first link to fall” under INEOS management as he “does not have the support of the heavyweights in the squad.”
Lopetegui is said to be “valued” by the powers-that-be at Old Trafford and “ahead of names like De Zerbi or Graham Potter.”
It is a bold claim by the outlet, given that the Basque countryman’s career has been steady rather than spectacular.
Age is also not on his side as he approaches his 58th birthday.
On the other hand, a steady pair of hands and immediate availability could see him installed on an interim basis should United pull the plug on Ten Hag’s tenure, and as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can attest to, a successful interim appointment can be a huge stepping stone to a permanent one.