Manchester United’s comprehensive victory over Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday may have handed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer an Old Trafford lifeline.
The match ultimately proved to be the final nail in the coffin for Nuno Espirito Santo, with Spurs announcing on Monday morning that they’d parted ways with the former Wolves boss.
The MEN understand Antonio Conte is set to be appointed as Nuno’s successor, roughly a week on from the news he was interested in the United job.
It’s no surprise to see everyone in the world of football trying to offer their opinion on the incredible turn of events, and former Spurs midfielder Jamie Redknapp has now had his say on the matter, telling Sky Sports: “He’s a first-class manager, a serial winner who did an incredible job at Chelsea and Inter.
“If this is the case Solskjaer will be delighted because if he were to leave that’s a manager United would be looking at, but you have to be careful of Conte playing the two clubs off and forcing Manchester United’s hand.”
Now, Redknapp is correct in saying that Conte is a great manager, but I feel like he’s massively misjudged the situation in suggesting the Italian holds all of the cards.
If Conte was certain that Solksjaer would be leaving Old Trafford in the near future then he wouldn’t even be considering taking the Spurs job.
Reports coming out of Italy painted a picture of Conte being desperate to manage United and taking every opportunity to express how much he’d love to move to Old Trafford.
That sort of thing doesn’t scream ‘I’m in a position of power’ and given his impending arrival at Spurs it seems he was just desperate to get back into management rather than actually wanting to take over at United.
The information available all seems to be pointing towards the United board not being completely enamoured by the thought of Conte taking over at the club, as it would mean a fourth restarted project for the team in the last eight years.
Yes, Solskjaer adopted Conte’s favoured three-at-the-back system against Spurs, but there is no long-term commitment to the formation as it doesn’t fully make use of all of the talent in United’s squad.
Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Mason Greenwood have all enjoyed success on the wing throughout their respective careers, though they would struggle to find a starting spot in their preferred positions in the system used against Spurs.
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Conte would most likely not care about this and force his philosophy onto the squad without a care for what United have been building over the past few years.
There is also Conte’s chequered history when it comes to his relationships with the previous boards he’s worked under, and United’s hierarchy could probably do without the problems the Italian has brought to previous club boardrooms.
It’s safe to say that after surviving a 5-0 defeat to Liverpool while Conte was sat there waiting to be appointed, United aren’t going to be manipulated by Conte – if they wanted him they would already have hired him.
That’s not to say that Solskjaer’s position isn’t still under threat, but Redknapp’s comments are well wide of the mark.
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