Jose Mourinho leaves Manchester United - Who takes his place at Old Trafford?

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TUESDAY MORNING SAW THE DEPARTURE OF JOSE MOURINHO AFTER THEIR 3-1 DEFEAT TO LIVERPOOL ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON

It was expected that Manchester United's defeat to Liverpool on Sunday would be a step too far for all involved at Old Trafford, and that appears to be the case, as former Premier League winner Jose Mourinho opted to leave his position as manager on Tuesday morning. The Portuguese football manager has previously won three Premier League titles, a Portuguese Primeira Liga title, a La Liga title, two Serie A titles and two Champions Leagues. His decline over recent months has seen Manchester United slip down to sixth, with a nineteen point gap sitting between them and top place Liverpool.

Jose Mourinho Manchester United
Defeats to Brighton, Derby, West Ham, Valencia and local derby rivals Manchester City troubled Manchester United throughout the season before Mourinho's inevitable departure

There's been talk of an external appointment set to be made within thirty-six hours, announcing the new Manchester United manager. It was first assumed that assistant manager and former club captain Michael Carrick would take on the job until the end of the season, but it sounds like the club would prefer to put Carrick in charge only until they appoint another manager to take on the job on an interim basis until the end of the campaign.

Football fans throughout the country are now keeping tabs on Manchester United manager odds, with every price fluctuating by the minute as the bookies continue to accept bets on all of the world's best - and some of the worst - managers in circulation. We've taken a look at the current favourites, assessing who looks like the likely choice, and who we think would be a shrewd appointment out of all in contention.

MICHAEL CARRICK - MORE THAN JUST AN INTERIM OPTION?

An early announcement confirmed that Michael Carrick will be the club's interim manager until another is appointed within the coming days, but if finding a replacement is harder than first predicted, who knows how the odds could transpire, leaving Carrick as a potentially clever option. Ryan Giggs formerly took on the job until the end of the season after the sacking of David Moyes, so it's to be assumed that current assistant manager Michael Carrick would be the safest option while they find a more substantial alternative.

Michael Carrick Manchester United
Will Michael Carrick end up being the smartest option after thirty-six hours have passed?

A lot of football betting tips saw punters backing Michael Carrick to take on the job full-term even with the club officially stating that they will look for an external appointment within forty-eight hours, with Carrick working as a stand-in to fill the space while it remains vacant, but stranger things have happened in the managerial merry-go-round, so many will be tempted by the 10/11 price.

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ZINEDINE ZIDANE - IS THE TRIPLE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WINNER CAPABLE OF TURNING MANCHESTER UNITED'S FORTUNES AROUND?

Tipped for months as the best possible candidate to replace faltering Jose Mourinho, Zinedine Zidane clearly has the pedigree both as a player and a manager, but whether he can alter Manchester United's fate is another thing, especially with so many football fans believing that the club's issues are more than just skin-deep. Zidane won practically all of the silverware on offer as a player before moving into management, where he sealed an against-the-odds La Liga title as well as even more ambitiously winning the Champions League in three successive seasons.

Zinedine Zidane Real Madrid
Despite his successful start to management, some doubt Zinedine Zidane's ability, putting his winning formula down to a perfected squad that he inherited upon becoming Real Madrid boss

Since achieving such success, the Frenchman went into hiding, leaving Real Madrid with no alternative career path in the pipeline. He'd have a potentially limited transfer budget to deal with and plenty of issues with the current squad and playing style, but based on his CV, he's surely capable of overcoming these faults and getting Manchester United back to where they ought to be. Current pricing sees Zinedine Zidane odds as high as 2/1 to take charge of Manchester United in the coming days.

MAURICIO POCHETTINO - WOULD THE ARGENTINE LEAVE HIS PROJECT IN NORTH LONDON FOR A REBUILD IN MANCHESTER?

Often recognised as the ideal man to take over Manchester United for an extended period of time, Mauricio Pochettino has certainly proved his pedigree during his time in England with both Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur. The current Spurs squad is enough to finish high in the table every season, helped by the ever-developing form of Harry Kane, who's become a key part of Poch's starting eleven as well as Gareth Southgate's new-look England team.

Mauricio Pochettino Tottenham Hotspur Spurs
A lot of football bets are being placed on Mauricio Pochettino after conducting such a fine job as Spurs boss

Prices continue to fluctuate distinctly but Mauricio Pochettino odds are set as high as 20/1 with some bookmakers. The only issue that makes it a conundrum for us all is how likely he'd be to leave a Tottenham team that he's slowly grown since taking charge in 2014. Spurs play in a style implemented by Pochettino, all areas of the starting eleven are accounted for and given depth from the bench, and Tottenham Hotspur remain in the Champions League, the FA Cup, the Carabao Cup, and arguably the Premier League title race.

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ANTONIO CONTE - CAN UNITED FANS HANDLE ANY MORE DEFENSIVE TACTICS?

Signing Jose Mourinho after he was sacked by Chelsea months prior, Manchester United could do the same in bringing Antonio Conte to the club, who also was sacked by Chelsea before the arrival of current boss Maurizio Sarri. The former international footballer won the Serie B with Bari before winning the Serie A with Juventus in three successive seasons, triggering the league domination that's currently being continued by Massimiliano Allegri. He took over the Italian national team for Euro 2016 before taking on the challenge of the Premier League with Chelsea, where he won the title in his first season, winning the FA Cup in his second, but finding himself sacked after falling out of favour with the fans.

Antonio Conte Chelsea Italy Juventus
Antonio Conte could be prepared to reek revenge on the Premier League after being sacked twelve months after winning the title with Chelsea

Those who've won the Premier League often go on to find themselves sacked in the following campaign - including Claudio Ranieri at Leicester City and Jose Mourinho at Chelsea - with it often being down to distinct underachieving after previously presenting themselves as the best team in England's top tier. Some would go as far as saying that Conte's sacking was unfair based on the FA Cup win weeks prior, and he's surely got a point to prove based on that alone. Conte remains at 12/1 to take the Manchester United manager job, and the odds remaining in the same bracket makes it seem like a possible outcome in the eyes of the bookies.

RAFA BENITEZ - WOULD MANCHESTER UNITED FANS TAKE TO A FORMER LIVERPOOL BOSS?

Although the Rafa Benitez odds to take the Manchester United managerial position only go as low as 20/1 even with the most generous of bookmakers, there are some United fans who would consider the prospect. He's best known for winning two La Liga titles with Valencia and scooping the Champions League with Liverpool, but he's somewhat wasted at Newcastle United, continuing to attempt to show progress even with a clear lack of prowess in the transfer market from the club's uncertain owners.

Rafa Benitez Rafael Benitez Newcastle United
It's hard to imagine Rafa Benitez at Manchester United, but fans of the club could be tempted by how frustrating Liverpool fans would find the appointment

It would be no surprise to see a lot of Manchester United fans dismissing the chance to have Rafael Benitez as manager of the club - mostly down to the link to Premier League rivals Liverpool - but he's managed in most of Europe's top leagues and holds a strong record in charge of Newcastle United through continuing to keep the club in the Premier League despite no financial investment in the squad. He also played the role of interim manager at Chelsea back in 2013, so he's accustomed to the concept of moving to a rival in order to keep them afloat until a more desirable man steps in on a long-term basis. Finding himself sacked by Liverpool several years ago saw constant strides by Benitez to return to the club, especially after Brendan Rodgers left a gap that was eventually filled by Jurgen Klopp. It's possible that Rafa Benitez's desire to return to Anfield could turn into bitterness, and taking over at Manchester United would be the ultimate insult to the fans who formerly regarded him as a hero.

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