On December 18, it will be exactly five years since Manchester United sacked Jose Mourinho as manager, the Portuguese coach paying the price for a poor run of performances culminating in a one-sided defeat to Liverpool at Anfield.
On December 17, United head to their fierce rivals after a wretched first few months of the season, with manager Erik ten Hag under increasing pressure following 12 losses in 24 games. Like Mourinho, a bad defeat away to Liverpool could prove the final straw.
The atmosphere at United under Ten Hag has certainly not become as toxic as it did in the final weeks of Mourinho’s reign, and the Dutchman still has the backing of a large number of fans, but there is already speculation that he could be removed as manager. Sir Jim Ratcliffe is poised to become a minority investor in the club and take control of sporting operations, meaning Ten Hag’s future will remain unclear regardless of the result at Anfield.
One of the main candidates linked to the job is Graham Potter, whose most recent Premier League position at Chelsea went badly wrong. Could he really be the man to take another big-spending, poorly organised football club in the right direction?
The Sporting News looks at the latest news and rumours regarding Potter, his record at Chelsea, and whether his tactical approach could be right for United.
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Will Man United hire Graham Potter? Latest news, rumours
On December 13, The Sun reported that Potter was Ratcliffe’s preferred choice as the next permanent Manchester United manager should he decide to sack Ten Hag.
The report claimed Ratcliffe has already met with the 48-year-old Englishman and is “a huge fan” of his methods, having previously tried to get him to take over at Ligue 1 club Nice, which the billionaire also controls.
The following day, Sky Sports backed up the suggestion that Potter would be one of the top candidates for the United manager job should Ten Hag be dismissed. However, Sky’s Rob Dorsett made it clear that no such decision about the incumbent had been made, with the club’s present hierarchy having “no plans” to fire the former Ajax coach.