Down The Wings

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Ernesto Valverde: A Manchester United interim option

Since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer departed Manchester United, the club has been linked strongly to many managers one being former Barcelona boss, Ernesto Valverde. The ever-reliable Fabrizio Romano claims that United have been in direct contact with Valverde however the former Barca manager would only be considered as an interim in the event the club can’t land a permanent name like Brendan Rodgers or Mauricio Pochettino now.

Who is he?

Most people will know Valverde from his time at Barcelona. Valverde joined Barcelona in July 2017 after previously representing the club during his playing career and was sacked in January 2020. During his spell at Camp Nou, he managed four major honours including back to back league wins, a Copa del Rey and a Spanish Super Cup. Valverde managed 145 games at Barcelona winning 97 of those and only losing 16 resulting in an average of 2.23 points per game.

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The Spaniard spent most of his career managing in Spain and has had spells at Athletic Bilbao, where he won his first Copa del Rey, Espanyol, where he reached a UEFA Cup final, Villarreal and Valencia. Valverde has also managed Greek club Olympiacos winning the league three times as well as the domestic cup twice.

What’s his style of play?

Valverde is far from an attacking manager. In his time at Barcelona, he was deemed pragmatic. He mainly used a 4-3-3 at Barca but at times used a 4-4-2. Many people believe he was overly reliant on Lionel Messi and his individual brilliance during his time at the club.

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Is he a good option?

Valverde as interim till the end of the season wouldn’t be a bad appointment by United. There are doubts over him however he’s experienced and would be capable of leading United to a top 4 finish which would resemble an air of stability all things considered. The ex-Barca man’s record in domestic competitions is strong meaning an FA Cup run could potentially be on the cards.

In June 2021, Valverde was asked in an interview with the Observer about working in England he said: “I wouldn’t mind trying it. You get the feeling that there’s a respect there for what the game is.”

With United’s reported no.1 choice for the long term being current Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino, United seem to be focused on appointing an interim manager till the end of the season. Despite all the noise around Valverde, it’s still uncertain who will take over at United as interim manager. Other reports have suggested the club have also been in talks with ex-Lyon manager Rudi Garcia and ex-Dortmund boss Lucien Favre as potential interim managers as well as Valverde. That same stories also claim Ralf Ragnick is being spoken as well and United’s full focus is on appointing an interim manager.

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