Six managers waiting for Man Utd and Newcastle to sack sitting ducks Ten Hag and Howe

Author Avatar

Staff Writer

Joined: Nov 2016

As the new year begins, there are perhaps no managers fearing for their jobs more than Erik ten Hag and Eddie Howe.

With Manchester United’s sporting operations set to be taken over by Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS, it would come as little surprise if they were to select their own man to kickstart a new era at Old Trafford. Ten Hag is certainly giving them every reason to do so with his current job performance.

At Newcastle, Howe is possibly becoming a victim of his overachievements last season, with Champions League qualification and a cup final more than anyone expected.

However, things have taken a serious downturn of late, with the Magpies losing seven of their last eight games, being knocked out of Europe and now facing a struggle to make it back next season.

His paymasters, Saudi Arabia… *ahem*… sorry, the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, are intolerant of most human rights, so any continuation of this type of form is likely to see their current manager get the chop – pun very much intended.

We’ve taken a look at six managers outperforming both Ten Hag and Howe, as well as their expectations this season. All six come from different leagues and are under 50, just to add to things.

Each could ominously be potential replacements for either men, or both!

READ MORE: Howe sacked, Ten Hag lasts the year and more football predictions for 2024

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe and Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag.

Roberto De Zerbi

The obvious first pick and the man who is most likely to be linked with either job if they become vacant, unless the rumours of his predecessor at Brighton, Graham Potter, being sounded out by INEOS come to fruition.

The Italian has been the toast of the Premier League since his arrival 15 months ago, with his style of play wowing neutrals and making Brighton one of the best sides to watch in Europe.

He also has the results to match, with the Seagulls flying high in both the league and in Europe – they are currently seventh despite a brief wobble, and topped a tough Europa League group in the club’s first continental excursion.

You might wonder why he would swap the serenity of Brighton for the madhouse of United or the Saudi kingdom of Newcastle, but he will want to test himself at a higher level at some point. Could it be this summer?

Xabi Alonso

The other obvious and sexy choice, but one that feels extremely unlikely for the Red Devils in particular given his Liverpool connections.

After several seasons back home coaching the B team of his boyhood club, Real Sociedad, Alonso made the somewhat rogue switch to Bayer Leverkusen in October 2022 with the side languishing in the Bundesliga relegation zone.

In little over a year, the Spaniard has turned things around in stunning fashion, with Leverkusen currently sitting top of the table ahead of another one of his old clubs and 11-time consecutive champions, Bayern Munich. They are also a frontrunner to win the Europa League.

It feels more realistic that he will end up at one of his former heavyweight clubs (Real Madrid too, in case you forgot) than at either of the Uniteds anytime soon, but money does talk and stranger things have happened.


Predominately viewed as a promotion specialist – a Spanish Neil Warnock if you will – Michel has revamped his reputation this season, masterminding one of the most remarkable rises in recent memory at Girona.

Having brought the Catalonians back to La Liga in 2022 before achieving a very respectable 10th-placed finish, he is now vying with Real Madrid for top spot, only in second by virtue of goal difference after 19 games.

Their most recent of 15 victories to date was a 4-3 classic against Atletico Madrid, while their most famous was a 4-2 win over their far more illustrious neighbours, Barcelona, before Christmas.

Sure, Girona are part of the City Football Group (how grim), but they are not exactly big spenders or filled with stars; Daley Blind, Eric Garcia and former Spurs backup Paolo Gazzaniga are their ‘marquee’ names.

Might their links to Manchester City stop a move for Michel to a Premier League rival (again, how grim)? Who knows, but the 48-year-old is sure to be on the watchlist of most of Europe’s big boys.

Ruben Amorim

Ten years Michel’s junior, Sporting’s Ruben Amorin has packed a whole lot into his four years of management.

Starting off with Braga, after a brief stint with their B team, Amorim won ten of his 13 games in charge, picking up the Portuguese League Cup along the way. His instant success was such that Sporting came calling in March 2020.

Since arriving in Lisbon, the former Portugal international has transformed the fortunes of a club that had become a distant third in the so-called ‘Big Three’ of the country.

In 2020/21, he led Sporting to their first title in 19 seasons, while he continued his League Cup dominance, winning two more to make it three in a row. He also helped the club into the Champions League knockout rounds for the first time in over a decade in 2021/22.

Sporting currently sit atop the Portuguese League and also look a decent bet for a run in the Europa League – in which they eliminated Arsenal last season.

Young, ambitious and progressive – could one of the Uniteds get the new Special One from Portugal this summer, 20 years after the first arrived?

Journalist: “The English media are calling you the new Mourinho.”

Rúben Amorim: “There will never be another Mourinho, Mourinho is unique.”

“He has already texted me, he said that the old one and the new one are through to the next stage.”


— IM🇵🇹 (@Iconic_Mourinho) March 16, 2023

Arne Slot

One bald Dutchman to replace another?

Slot has regularly been linked with English jobs as a result of his exploits with Feyenoord, turning down both Spurs and Leeds in the last year, and it feels a matter of time before he makes the well-travelled route from Eredivisie to Premier League.

After a successful spell with AZ Alkmaar, he joined – like Amorim – the third of the ‘Big Three’ in his own country, with Feyenoord somewhat floundering behind Ajax and PSV.

After Ten Hag departed for United in 2022, Slot seized the opening, leading his side to their first league title since 2017. To be fair, he had already shown his capabilities the year before, only being denied the inaugural Europa Conference League by Jose Mourinho’s Roma.

This season has been a slightly different story, with Feyenoord second and ten points off the pace. PSV have won 16 of 16, so it’s not exactly a knock on Slot, nor was the failure to qualify from a Champions League group with Atletico Madrid or Lazio.

Maybe Ratcliffe will think twice about another Eredivisie recruit, but Newcastle could do a lot worse than the 45-year-old.

Francesco Farioli

The most rogue shout of the lot, but one that has specific links to Ratcliffe and INEOS given that he is the current manager of Nice, another team they own (multi-club ownership again, woo!).

After several years of managerial turnover, the coastal club finally seem to have landed on the right man, with Nice sitting just five points behind perennial champions PSG in the Ligue Un standings heading into the second half of the season.

He did not arrive on the Cote D’Azur with a stunning CV – Fatih Karagümrük and Alanyaspor don’t quite jump off the page – but he is only 34 years and his best years are surely ahead of him.

He’s a long shot for either job, but could some semi-nepotism from Ratcliffe lead to the most daring of choices?

READ MORE: Predicting every Premier League club’s next manager, including De Zerbi, Alonso, Amorim and Farioli


0 %

User Score

0 ratings
Rate This