Thursday 29 September 2016

Laurent Blanc emerges as shock contender to beat Jose Mourinho to Manchester United job

Published 26/04/2016 | 08:59

Jose Mourinho and Laurent Blanc are linked with Manchester United
Jose Mourinho and Laurent Blanc are linked with Manchester United

Former Manchester United defender Laurent Blanc has emerged as a surprise candidate to replace Louis van Gaal if the club decide to axe their manager in the summer and avoid appointing Jose Mourinho.

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Blanc’s future at Paris Saint-Germain is in question due to their Champions League exit at the hands of Manchester City during this month’s quarter-finals, and an approach is already believed to have been made to Mourinho in the hope of bringing the Portuguese to the French capital.

Mourinho is expected to replace Van Gaal at United if the Dutchman fails to win the FA Cup final – where United will face Crystal Palace – and finish in the top four to ensure United remain in the Champions League next season. But one concern at Old Trafford is that Mourinho will want to appoint his own backroom staff, and it could bring an end to the relationship between the club and their former player-turned assistant manager Ryan Giggs, which has spanned the last 28 years.

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According to The Sun, United still wish to appoint Giggs as manager in the future and do not want him to leave the club, and the revelation that PSG are looking to replace the 50-year-old Frenchman has triggered a wave of support for him to be appointed as Van Gaal’s successor.

Blanc replaced Carlo Ancelotti at PSG in 2013 and has won three straight Ligue 1 titles – claiming this season’s championship by a record margin – but the Parisians failure to improve performances in Europe and win the Champions League has not gone down well with the club’s Qatari owners.

Mourinho was already thought to have held off opposition from Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino as well as Giggs in the race to be the next United manager, but the latest twist could yet see him miss out on the job he has courted since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013. Ferguson was one of those who, along with Sir Bobby Charlton, opposed Mourinho’s appointment in favour of Giggs. However, the two are believed to have lowered their defences and accepted that Mourinho is currently the best option to build the club back to the dominant force it was under Ferguson.

Blanc made 75 appearances for United across two seasons, helping the cub secure the Premier League title in 2002/03 before retiring and eventually going into management with Bordeaux in 2007 and the French national team in 2010.

As well as United, Blanc played for Inter Milan, Marseille and Barcelona, having made his name at Montpellier where he came through their academy before spending eight years as a key figure in their first team.

Independent News Service

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