Gary Neville believes Manchester United do not need a ‘big name’ to come in to take the reigns following the sacking of David Moyes after just 11 months in charge.
At present, Gary Neville’s former teammate and friend Ryan Giggs has been appointed as the interim manager for the remaining games of the Premier League season but a long-term appointment is expected to be made by the club after the World Cup. His brother Phil Neville remains on the coaching staff.
It is understood that former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who held the post for 26 years prior to his retirement last May, will have a key role in deciding who takes over from the man hailed as the ‘Chosen One’, hand-picked by Ferguson just a year ago to disappointing effect.
“The suggestion that they need a big manager to attract players to the club, I find that a bit sad to be fair," he told Sky Sports.
"The idea that Manchester United Football Club need to have a sort-of figurehead to be able to attract players is a nonsense as far as I'm concerned.”
"Manchester United, as a football club, is big enough in its own right to be able to attract players - and they should be,” he added.
The talk around the tabloids seems to be that if Manchester United fail to qualify for the Champions League (which looks more than likely at present) they will struggle to attract the top-level players potentially available in the transfer market this summer.
Whilst Neville is right to point out that Manchester United is one of the biggest, most successful, most popular and most wealthy clubs in the world, the fact remains players want to play for a team with a strong challenge for titles domestically and, crucially, at least a challenge at all in Europe, preferably the Champions League.
I personally agree with Neville that the Red Devils don’t necessarily need a ‘big name’ such as Louis van Gaal who is the favourite for the job at present or Carlo Ancelotti, for example, but for a different reason altogether – I think the continuity and legacy of the Ferguson era is more important to United’s success and future than a short-term ‘big name’ as he says.
For example, I think it would be more appropriate in the long-term to keep Ryan Giggs in charge (if he does well, of course) or bring in Roy Keane or, who knows, even Gary Neville himself. If Van Gaal comes in after the World Cup, there are no guarantees he will be able to match the success he has had in the past with Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich – those teams and leagues are a completely different environment to Manchester United in the Premier League.
The Dutch coach does have a strong bond with Robin van Persie but the striker is now 30 years old so to bring him in on that basis especially would be thinking in the short-term and I think the clear intention from the club and the directors, including Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton, was to plan for the long-haul – that was evident in Moyes’ six-year deal – and foster a sense of continuity from the club’s most successful era under the former boss.