Manchester United have identified a five-man shortlist for their interim manager role that includes former Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde as they look for their temporary successor to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Sportsmail understands the ex-Catalans boss has been listed alongside former RB Leipzig manager Ralf Rangnick, Lucien Favre and Rudi Garcia, who took Lyon to the Champions League semi-finals in 2020.
Former Roma boss Paulo Fonseca will also be considered for the role, while PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino is still interested in the position but is not convinced United have made a significant approach for him yet.
Lucien Favre (above) is on a five-man shortlist for Manchester United’s interim manager role
Sportsmail can reveal Ernesto Valverde (L) and Ralf Rangnick (right) are also being discussed
Sportsmail also understands Steve Bruce’s agent has offered his services to United while Unai Emery is another outside candidate.
Valverde has already held talks with Manchester United football director John Murtough over the role and representatives of the Spaniard have informed Sportsmail he is keen to take the temporary position.
But the 57-year-old manager, who has been out of a job for nearly two years after his sacking from Barcelona, is aware that other candidates are being considered.
Former RB Leipzig boss Rangnick is one of them, with the current Lokomotiv Moscow sporting director holding a long-term desire to work in England. The German, 63, knows Murtough from their director of football duties together.
Ex-Lyon boss Rudi Garcia (left) and Paulo Fonseca (right) are also being considered
Ex-Dortmund manager Favre is also talking to United just six months after the Swiss coach saw talks with Crystal Palace break down, with the Eagles post eventually going to Patrick Vieira.
Fonseca, meanwhile, agreed terms to become Tottenham’s manager over the summer but Italian sporting director Fabio Paratici pulled the plug on the deal, with Nuno Espirito Santo hired instead.
The former Roma boss was also considered for the Newcastle boss but that role was filled by Eddie Howe.
Sevilla manager Julen Lopetegui has also been considered for the post but the Spaniard described talk of him moving to Old Trafford as ‘absurd’ this week.
United chief Ed Woodward only wants an interim manager before the end of the season
Sportsmail understands United are not considering the five names on the shortlist as permanent options and believe an interim appointment will bring stability during a chaotic season, before a more long-term process gets underway in the summer.
United sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after last weekend’s humiliating 4-1 defeat by Watford, with Michael Carrick installed as caretaker boss until an interim is found.
Carrick won his first match in charge of the Red Devils against Villarreal on Tuesday night to seal the club’s progression to the knockout stages of the Champions League.
PSG boss Pochettino would be interested in moving to Old Trafford but he remained coy when asked about his future during a press conference in Manchester on Tuesday.
Reports on Wednesday claimed that PSG have rebuffed an initial approach by United for Pochettino’s services, but the Argentine is unconvinced that a proper offer has been made by the Premier League club.
Speaking ahead of PSG’s clash against United’s rivals City on Wednesday, the Argentine boss said: ‘Football is about today, not tomorrow.
‘Football is about results. You live in the present, it’s not about living in the future. We are in a business where the rumours are there. I completely understand what is going on.
‘We cannot talk about this because of my respect to my club and my respect to another club. What another club are doing in that moment is not my business, it is not my problem.’