With Manchester City announcing the hottest property in football management, Pep Guardiola, as the successor to current boss Manuel Pellegrini from 2016/17 onwards, panic has descended upon the red half of the town.
Prior to the Citizens’ confirmation, the wildest dreams of the most optimistic Manchester United fans contained Guardiola parachuting into Old Trafford to save suffering supporters from the clutches of Louis van Gaal.
Having seen their faint hopes snuffed out for good, the Red Devils faithful has rushed to the bookies, placing bets on who the club will succeed the despised Dutchman with now his coveted Spanish counterpart is off the market.
The new heartthrob at the Theatre of Dreams is quite a surprising one: Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino.
A surge of wagers placed on the Argentine taking the reins from Van Gaal have prompted the slashing of his odds to be next Man Utd boss to fall from 100/1 into 10/1.
The Spurs chief is similar to Guardiola in his affection for high-intensity, expansive football and doesn’t have a track record for hanging around in a hot seat too long.
He last three years at Espanyol, before the season-and-a-half stint at Southampton that preceded his White Hart Lane premiership.
Pochettino isn’t the only coach the backers are buying, with a significant amount of punts also placed on a sensational return for Sir Alex Ferguson.
His price has tumbled into 10’s too, though from a not-as-lofty 50/1 starting point.
Glenn Woodage, of bookmakers bwin, said: “Ahead of United’s game with Stoke tonight, we’ve seen a surge of bets on who’ll take the helm should they fail to pick up a win. Whether it’s a return for Ferguson with the support of Ryan Giggs or Tottenham’s Pochettino – both having dropped massively in price – United will have make a marquee signing to rival that of the other half of Manchester”.