The man to replace David Moyes as Manchester United manager will have the daunting task of overseeing a major rejuvenation of the ailing English giants.
He will have to replace an ageing squad, but without being able to offer likely new signings the lure of Champions League football.
Netherlands head coach Louis van Gaal has emerged as the favourite for the high-profile post. United have never appointed a non-British or Irish, but it seems the 62-year-old Dutchman has piqued their interest, apparently after secret talks held last month.
Van Gaal, who has coached Barcelona, Ajax Amsterdam and Bayern Munich in a distinguished career, has already said he will step down from the national team after the World Cup ends in July and has already been linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur.
A firm believer in attacking football within the confines of innovative tactical systems, he is notoriously demanding of his players, putting them through relentless training-ground drills and methodical but blunt team talks.
Veteran midfielder Ryan Giggs will assume the United hot seat for the remainder of the season, but the British media is in overdrive speculating on the permanent replacement. Even Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho and his Bayern Munich counterpart Pep Guardiola - both of whom joined their respective teams at the start of this season - are rumoured to be on the Red Devils' shortlist.
Borussia Dortmund's Jurgen Klopp, the second favourite for his progressive, eye-catching tactics, has ruled himself out.
The 46-year-old German said: "Man United are a great club and I feel very familiar with their wonderful fans. But my commitment to Borussia Dortmund and the people is not breakable."
Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone, who has led the Spanish side to the top of the La Liga table and a Champions League semi-final spot this season, has also been linked, along with Real Madrid chief Carlo Ancelotti. United's former assistant coach and now Iran boss Carlos Queiroz, and Red Devil legends Eric Cantona and David Beckham are rated as long shots.
This article was published on April 23 in The Straits Times.
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