Incessant talk of Jose Mourinho over the past few months has created an air of inevitability about the Portuguese taking the Manchester United reigns this summer.
But blinded by their Mourinho obsession, the Red Devils risk missing out on the ideal candidate to replace Louis van Gaal if, as is expected, they dispense with the Dutchman at the season’s end.
Liverpool legend Rafa Benitez is the boss in question, a coach whose odds to be club’s next manager are identical to Steve McClaren’s and Eric Cantona’s.
The Spaniard often clashed with then United counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson during his six-year tenure at Anfield and, as a result, would undoubtedly be an unpopular pick on the terraces at the Theatre of Dreams.
Similarly, the Scot is certain to have a say in any managerial appointment decisions the club make, which isn’t exactly going to enhance Benitez’s case either, but focusing solely on football, he’s as good a choice as any.
Since taking over at Liverpool in 2004/05, he has secured top-four finishes in seven of the nine seasons that concluded with him in a job.
His Real Madrid sacking this term came in extremely harsh circumstances, with Los Blancos four points off the pace in La Liga at the time of his departure. They’re seven behind leaders Barcelona at present.
With the exception of Inter, where the FIFA World Club Cup was the most prominent piece of silverware he snared in a few months at the helm, Benitez has claimed at least one major trophy everywhere he has managed this century too.
Undoubtedly Liverpool’s most successful boss in the Premier League era, the 55-year-old’s Reds side that came desperately close to claiming the 2008/09 title did so recording a higher number of points than Brendan Rodgers’ nearly-men of 2013/14 mustered.
This tilt at the 08/09 title came in his fifth year at Anfield, with the previous seasons devoted to moulding a team capable of challenging overlords United.
History says the Red Devils are more likely than most to entrust their manager to undertake such a project and with their enormous resources, affording Benitez a similar length stint would pay dividends in the shapes of various trophies.