Roy Keane's point about Man United's manager search was somehow overlooked 1 year ago

Roy Keane's point about Man United's manager search was somehow overlooked

"It’s the biggest decision United have to make in donkey's years."

Roy Keane made headlines on Sunday for his cutting analysis of Manchester United's performance in their 4-1 defeat to Manchester City. However, the Irishman's pertinent comments about the club's search for a new permanent manager were somewhat overlooked.


The Red Devils were hammered by their cross-city rivals in a humiliating defeat at the Etihad Stadium. Man City were excellent, but United were lifeless and the focus following the game was on the away team's limp second-half display

On Sky Sports, Gary Neville said that Man United were 'embarrassing' and Keane said that five or six of the team should never play for the club again.

Man United's manager search.


In the middle of Keane's diatribe about the problems besetting his former club, the Cork-native made an excellent point about United's search for a new permanent manager. The former Republic of Ireland midfielder said United simply must pay whatever is required to get their number one target.

Ralf Rangnick is the interim manager until the end of the season when he will move into a consultancy role.

Man United have reportedly put Mauricio Pochettino, Erik ten Hag, Carlo Ancelotti, Julen Lopetegui and Luis Enrique on their shortlist to be the club's next permanent head coach.

The United hierarchy are also said to admire Atletico Madrid Diego Simeone.


Paris Saint-Germain manager Pochettino was regarded as the frontrunner for the position until reports emerged that Man United may favour Ten Hag instead.

The Ajax coach will be easier to prise from his current role than the Argentine as, according to The Athletic, Ten Hag has a relatively low release clause in his contract.

Meanwhile, PSG will only let Pochettino leave if it is on their terms and another club pays compensation to get him out of his contract. This could cost United millions and is reportedly making them lean towards approaching Ten Hag instead.


On Sky Sports, Keane highlighted the folly of this apparent penny-pinching.

roy keane united manager

Roy Keane on Man United's search for a new manager.

"If United want Pochettino, then go and get him," the former United captain said.

"I know people will say, 'Ooh he’s expensive,’ but it doesn’t matter. It’s the biggest decision United have to make in donkey's years.


"Go and get the right man. Pay the money. Whatever it costs."

Keane's view may seem overly simplistic, but he struck at the heart of an issue afflicting the club.

If Man United believe that Pochettino is the coach that can help restore them to glory, they really should just pay whatever it costs - particularly as the compensation fee would pale in comparison to the figures they've spent on failed transfers.

How can a club which spent £150m on Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James in the summer of 2019 reject the idea of spending a few million on their new manager after such a poor season?

And how did Man United believe that Maguire represented good value, but Pochettino does not? This sums up the haphazard approach of the United hierarchy.

Keane: Man United don't seem prepared to prise a top manager away from a club.

Keane expanded on the issue during the recent recording of The Overlap Live. The Irishman noted that Man United appear to have been penny-pinching when it comes to appointing managers since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.

"If you look at United in the last few years, David Moyes' contract was up at Everton," Keane said.

"Louis van Gaal was available and didn't cost any compensation. Jose Mourinho was available. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was pretty straightforward.

"It's as if [Man United] won't go to prise a top manager away from a club.

roy keane united manager

"People say, 'Well, he's already tied up with a club'. But if you really want a manager, the same as you want a player, you go and get him.

"You go and get the manager you think is the right manager for your club.

"None of this, 'He’s not available for two years'. If he's the right manager for Man United, go and get him.

"Pay the money, whatever it takes. Because you pay fortunes for players."

roy keane united manager

Man United's muddled approach.

Keane's correct in his views on United's approach to finding a new manager, but there may also be a deeper issue at the club.

It appears that Man United's hierarchy don't actually know what they are looking for. They don't seem to have identified any attributes for their next head coach beyond the coach being famous, previously successful and relatively easy to appoint.

This is clear from their reported shortlist. The respective playing styles of Pochettino and Ancelotti, or Ten Hag and Simeone, have very little in common. What exactly are Man United searching for in their new manager? They don't seem to know.

Once again, the club could be set to mess up another managerial appointment.

Related links.