By Joe Harker
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho wants the club to show that they really do still back him while uncertainty surrounds his future. According to ESPN he wants them to make a public show of faith by signing Milan Skriniar of Inter Milan and Alessio Romagnoli of AC Milan in the January transfer window.
Mourinho wanted Skriniar back in the summer and believes getting the right centre backs is important for his team, having also considered Toby Alderweireld and Harry Maguire before being overruled by Ed Woodward. Due to meet with United's CEO during the international break, the manager wants to be shown that the club still wants him.
The Independent reports that the board is split over whether Mourinho is still the right man to take the club forward. Some board members believe the current situation is "fundamentally broken" but Woodward is reluctant to pull the trigger.
Still, making such an expensive show of faith in Mourinho may be a step too far at this point. Neither Skriniar nor Romagnoli would come cheap and it could cost more than £100 million to sign both. A club wouldn't splash that sort of cash on a manager they were unsure of.
There is also the matter of who they would bring in to replace him. Many coaches would want the United job but if Mourinho is sacked they will have had a trilogy of failed appointments since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. Picking the right man for the job is important and United are seemingly yet to choose the right person for the job.
The Obvious Choice - Zinedine Zidane
Winner of three Champions League titles in less than three seasons, with a La Liga title in the mix for good measure, Zinedine Zidane is likely the most coveted manager on the market right now. His trophy haul is incredible and his reputation as a player and manager would quickly win over the squad at United. He would be the clear "big name" choice, just as Mourinho was when it became clear Louis Van Gaal's days were numbered.
Zidane's agent recently said that he is taking a year out of the game and is not too keen on managing in England, instead preferring his old club Juventus. There is also the question of his abilities at a club other than Real Madrid.
The One They Want - Mauricio Pochettino
The Tottenham Hotspur manager has a clear and attractive style of play, he gives chances to younger players and he turned the team known for "lads, it's Tottenham" into a better team than United. Mauricio Pochettino is the bookmakers favourite to take the job and his appointment would make plenty of sense.
Freed from the financial constraints Daniel Levy has imposed at Spurs, demonstrated by their lack of summer signings, Pochettino might get United back to the top. However, it would cost a lot of money to get him out of his contract and he is yet to win a trophy as a manager. His record in the big games has also been questioned.
The Outside Bet - Leonardo Jardim
Monaco's Leonardo Jardim is reportedly due to be sacked after a poor start to the season, but you try and maintain success at a club that sells their best players every summer. He beat PSG to the Ligue 1 title in 2017 and managed to keep his team playing excellent football despite the continued sales of their top stars. At United he could build a team that doesn't get gutted every year.
On the other hand, would United want to go for a manager whose team only has six points from nine games this season?
The English Option - Eddie Howe
Eddie Howe's Bournemouth side are in the fourth season of their spell in the Premier League. Howe took them up and has continued to play exciting football despite the comparative lack of quality and funds in his squad. He currently has his side two places and three points above United in the league table, if he can do that with Bournemouth's squad then what could he do with United's star studded team?
Many believe he is not far off making the step up to a big club, but it would be a risk on United's part if they appointed him. As impressive as his career has been, he has no experience of dealing with the biggest egos in football. Former United manager David Moyes found the step up from Everton to be too big, though Howe at least plays the kind of football United want.