United in talks with Valverde over interim manager’s job

Old Trafford club will abandon search if they can secure services of Mauricio Pochettino

Manchester United have spoken to Ernesto Valverde regarding becoming their interim manager. The 57-year-old was Barcelona's manager from May 2017 until January 2020, winning La Liga twice and a Copa del Rey, and is out of work.

It is understood that Valverde has discussed with John Murtough, United's football director, taking over on a temporary basis, with the club conscious that having worked with Lionel Messi at Barcelona he would be at ease managing Cristiano Ronaldo. Valverde has started sounding out potential players he could add to strengthen the squad should he be appointed.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær was sacked on Sunday and Michael Carrick appointed as the caretaker on a match-to-match basis, the club’s stated plan being to acquire an interim manager before making a permanent appointment in the close season.

Valverde is understood to be one of five candidates on the list for the interim role and United are ready to abandon that strategy if they can get Mauricio Pochettino from Paris Saint-Germain now. Leicester's Brendan Rodgers is another manager regarded by United as being of the requisite calibre for the permanent job.

Valverde, who has managed at six clubs since 2002, was asked in an interview for The Observer in June about one day potentially working in England. “Could be,” the Spaniard said. “I wouldn’t mind trying it. You get the feeling that there’s a respect there for what the game is.”

Valverde has also won trophies with Olympiakos and Athletic Bilbao and in 2007 led Espanyol to the Uefa Cup final.

– Guardian