After Manchester United decided to part company with David Moyes, the ledger has opened on who will succeed the outbound Scot at Old Trafford, with Louis van Gaal the name scrawled at the head of the page.
The Dutchman has enjoyed a silver-studded career, winning titles with Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munchen, and had previously been touted for the Red Devils’ top job prior to Sir Alex Ferguson rain-checking his initial retirement plan.
Set to vacate his post with the Netherlands national team after the World Cup, Van Gaal can be backed at 7/4 to succeed Moyes, but despite an outstanding record, there’s plenty of cause to swerve his relatively short price in what is a typically extremely volatile market.
Second-favourite Jurgen Klopp is a no-go at 5/1 having stated he has no interest in vacating his Dortmund job until his contract expires in 2018.
There’s some mileage in Diego Simeone at 14/1, with the Argentine rapidly asserting himself among the continent’s hot coaching properties.
He’s guided Atletico Madrid into the La Liga title mix in unanticipated circumstances, but would his more pragmatic, safety-first approach fit in with the swashbuckling style that’s synonymous with Man Utd?
The part he played in getting terrace hero David Beckham sent off in the 1998 World Cup may also make it difficult for the Old Trafford faithful to endear to the in-vogue boss, which leads us on to Jose Mourinho.
It would be a sensational appointment, but one that would almost guarantee success.
The reported £150m-£200m transfer kitty the incoming United boss has to play around with will unquestionably appeal to the Portuguese, who is believed to have been keen on filling Sir Alex’s boots before the Red Devils plumped for Moyes.
There’s a distinct possibility that Chelsea will end the campaign trophyless and trigger-happy Roman Abramovich has shown managers the door for less.
Mourinho’s tendency to hop between jobs, as opposed to occupying the same post for long periods, is one of the reasons he was overlooked to replace Sir Alex, but he’s recently spoken of his desire to stay with the Blues long term and such noises may well win over the United recruitment team.
Outlandish it may well be, but the 28/1 about Mourinho sitting in the Man Utd dug out from next season may well be worth a few quid.