Who could take over as Man United’s next manager?
As United’s season lurks from one disaster to another, the possibility of David Moyes being relieved of his duties is becoming an increasingly plausible scenario.
A six-year contract was a vote of confidence in a long-term project, but even the most pessimistic observer will have been taken aback by both results and performances.
The club has denied any rumours that a change at the top is being discussed, but with speculation mounting, here are five contenders should Moyes lose his job.
A hovering presence all season, the odds on being re-instated to steady the ship are as low as 2/1 in some places.
There is a strong sense of déjà vu at Old Trafford after Matt Busby left his post in similar circumstances, yet wielded a strong and at times intimidating influence at the club. Busby came back in when others struggled to fill his shoes and it could well be a case of history repeating itself.
Fergie was adamant in his retirement and autobiography that he was finished as a manager, though he has been known to change his mind in the past.
Ferguson isn’t the bookies favourite to replace Moyes with most ookmakers without good reason.
The charismatic German would at the very least bring more colour to Old Trafford, though his eccentricity should not detract from his brilliant achievements at Borussia Dortmund.
Appointed as head coach in 2008, even with financial restrictions meaning the club has relied on selling their star assets, Klopp has led the side to two Bundesliga titles (2011 and 2012) and were beaten by rivals Bayern in last season’s Champions League final.
His style of play has won admirers the world round, with a mid-week 4-2 victory away to Zenith proving they are again a force in Europe, even if their domestic form has been sub-standard.
Louis Van Gaal
The current Holland manager is making all the right noises in looking for Premier League employment after taking charge of the Dutch national side in the World Cup.
In the just the past week he has said he has always wanted to manage in England and it is thought that his name was mentioned at board level when Ferguson announced he was retiring before making a U-turn more than 10 years ago.
After bringing through a talented crop of youngsters to help Ajax claim the 1995 Champions League, he went on to win La Liga twice with Barca in three seasons, though his prickly behaviour with the media was part of his downfall.
His time at Bayern was mixed, winning one title and assisted the development of some of the players currently ruling the roost in Europe, including Bastian Schweinsteiger’s move to a defensive role, but it coincided with Dortmund’s emergence.
No doubting Van Gaal's pedigree but his final season at Munich may count against him.
Outwardly it would appear like a long shot, but the Glazers would be keen to appease should they move Moyes on. In Giggs, they would have a player who would command the respect of both fans and players alike.
Comparisons could be made with Pep Guardiola, whose only experience was one year as Barcelona B coach before getting the top job in 2008 aged just 37.
One thing that is a certainty if Keane was to take over is that he would ruffle a few feathers.
Speaking as a pundit at the Olympiakos debacle, Keane said that some of the players simply weren’t up to the task and suggested that Moyes was probably shocked at the quality of the squad since he took over. As he proved during his exit, speaking his mind is not an issue, though not to everyone's taste.
The Ireland assistant manager is looking to build up his own experience at national level, and even if he was interested, it is doubtful the United hierarchy would push for a return of the combative Cork man.