Blanc backed for United post

Tuesday morning saw the breaking news that Jose Mourinho was heading for the Old Trafford exit and with the Red Devils making their move, speculation is rife regarding who will get the top job.

United are 19 points off Premier League leaders Liverpool and with a top-four finish now 13.00, the appointment needs to be the right one.

The club say Michael Carrick will take charge for the next 48 hours, by which time they expect to have made an external appointment until the end of the season and potentially beyond.

Laurent looking likelier by the second

His name may not have been on everyone’s lips when the news broke, but Laurent Blanc has shortened significantly in the intervening period.

A former United defender, most notably helping them win the Premier League in 2002-03, the 1998 World Cup winner also has plenty of pedigree in the dugout. He started his career by leading Bordeaux to the Ligue 1 title in 2008-09, coached France at Euro 2012 and enjoyed a glittering spell in charge of Paris Saint-Germain.

Blanc will also be raring to go, with Les Parisiens waiting in the last-16 of the Champions League and United’s current plight is arguably highlighted by them being 3.50 to win the home leg.

The 53-year-old is available and the Red Devils could do worse if they are looking for a stop-gap appointment.

Zizou a good fit

Zinedine Zidane has been talked up as a future boss at Old Trafford ever since leaving Real Madrid and is one of those currently available.

A former playing colleague of Blanc and assistant to Mourinho at Real Madrid, Zizou further cemented the iconic status he established as a player at the Bernabeu by winning three straight Champions League titles.

United are out at 51.00 to win a fourth European crown this season and with the Premier League title out of reach, due to the form of local rivals City and Liverpool, the board may look for a Champions League specialist.

One thing they will certainly be searching for is a man-manager. Mourinho’s approach towards Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw, in particular, was deemed somewhat unsavoury.

Zidane somehow kept Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Marcelo and Sergio Ramos on side at Real and in a dressing room of bruised egos, his approach could prove the ideal antidote.

Conte could be an option

There are other experienced options, with Mauricio Pochettino a long-term target but doubts remain as to whether he would leave Tottenham.

Veteran Guus Hiddink twice replaced Mourinho at Chelsea so is a convenient pick, but there are bigger names who will be hungrier to get back into the game.

Arguably the most likely of these is Antonio Conte, who won the league with Chelsea and is still unattached since his summer departure.

However, a bit like Mourinho, Conte can be caught up in the moment and after Jose’s outbursts, the Italian’s combustible nature may prompt doubts from the board, even short-term.

Could they back Butt?

While Carrick is in temporary charge and would likely stay to work under any new man, other former United players have been linked with the job, most notably Nicky Butt.

A member of the famous ‘Class of ’92’, the 43-year-old was part of Ryan Giggs’ backroom team when the Welshman took charge following David Moyes’ departure, and has been earning rave reviews for his work within the Red Devils’ academy.

Appointing someone with the club so ingrained in his psyche may also be what is required to get the Red Devils back on the road to success.