Luis Enrique among managers who have impressed key United figures

The international break has eased some of the glare on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s position at Manchester United.

But now that United’s players and Solskjaer are back from their week off and the Premier League comes back into view, the pressure is back on.

The Manchester Evening News have reported that United are already planning for life after Solskjaer.

That does not mean that Solskjaer will be sacked immediately, but they claim the succession planning has already begun.

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Brendan Rodgers is named in the report as the favoured candidate, with United prepared to wait for the Leicester man.

Ajax manager Erik Ten Hag – who recently distanced himself from United speculation – is also included.

And so is Spain manager Luis Enrique, who apparently has admirers among key figures at United.

Enrique won the Champions League with Barcelona in 2015, beating Paul Pogba’s Juventus 3-1 in the final.

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The 51-year-old also has two La Liga titles and three Copa del Reys to his name as well as the 2015 Club World Cup: 2015.

Enrique took Spain to the semi-finals of Euro 2020, where they were within a penalty shootout of knocking out eventual winners Spain.

He is a manager capable of coaching an expansive, attacking passing style with experience of managing big egos.

One interesting sub-plot if Enrique overtook Rodgers in the race would be the fact that David de Gea is currently not Spain’s first choice goalkeeper, with Unai Simon preferred for his ability with his feet.

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United spell

  1. Appointed in 2018 as interim boss

    Solskjaer was hired until the end of the 2018/19 season in a surprise move as a stop-gap after Jose Mourinho was sacked.

  2. Hired full-time in March 2019

    After a superb Premier League run, Solskjaer defeated Paris Saint-Germain in a Champions League upset win after a 2-0 first leg defeat. The momentum saw United give Solskjaer the job full-time.

  3. An up and down 2019/20

    After a terrible end to the 2018/19 season, Solskjaer began the following season poorly and the decision to hand him the job looked like a possible error. Solskjaer then rallied his team and managed to finish in third place. Along the way United lost three semi-finals.

  4. Second place in 2020/21

    United built on third the previous year and managed to finish in second. The team even topped the table in January before sliding off. United reached another semi-final, and then reached the Europa League final, losing to Villarreal on penalties.

  5. Unable to take the next step

    Solskjaer was backed in the summer and got the players he wanted. After a terrific first game against Leeds, United’s performances stuttered, gradually getting worse. The defence leaked goals and the whole team seemed to take a backwards step. A 4-1 loss to Watford was the final humiliation.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.