Sir Alex Ferguson will have no formal role in the search for Manchester United‘s next manager, sources have told ESPN, with football director John Murtough and technical director Darren Fletcher given the responsibility of identifying and assessing candidates to replace the sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
United are looking for their fifth permanent manager since Ferguson’s retirement in May 2013 after Solskjaer became the latest coach, following Jose Mourinho, Louis van Gaal and David Moyes, to lose his job at Old Trafford at the weekend.
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But although Ferguson was appointed as a director on United’s football board after retiring as manager, when he helped identify former Everton boss Moyes as his successor, sources have told ESPN that the 79-year-old will not be involved in the latest managerial recruitment drive.
Murtough and Fletcher, who were confirmed in their respective roles in March this year, have been tasked with running the search for Solskjaer’s successor. The pair will then report to outgoing executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and club managing director Richard Arnold — Woodward’s likely successor — before a final decision is made by chairman Joel Glazer.
Sources have told ESPN that Ferguson’s influence at United has waned since his retirement as manager, although he has sporadically been used as a sounding board by Woodward at times during the past eight years.
And although Ferguson was involved in the final stages of Cristiano Ronaldo‘s transfer back to United from Juventus in August, the mechanics of the deal had already been agreed by Woodward and Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes, before Ferguson spoke to the player.
Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino is, according to sources, the favoured candidate to succeed Solskjaer, and connections of the former Tottenham manager have given United encouragement that he would be interested in moving to Old Trafford.
Pochettino has a strong relationship with Ferguson — the pair were photographed meeting for lunch in the weeks before Van Gaal’s dismissal in May 2016 — but sources have said that the former United manager will not be asked to play a key role in identifying Solskjaer’s replacement.
United said at the weekend that Michael Carrick, Solskjaer’s assistant, will take charge of the team on a caretaker basis until an interim manager is appointed until the end of the season.