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Luis Enrique joins three-man Man Utd shortlist as he earns Old Trafford recommendation


Luis Enrique is a front runner for the Manchester United manager’s job alongside PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino and Ajax boss Erik ten Hag after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking

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Spain boss Luis Enrique has emerged as a surprise contender for the permanent manager’s job at Manchester United.

Former Barcelona coach Enrique has joined Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino and Ajax boss Erik ten Hag to replace interim boss Ralf Rangnick this summer.

Although Pochettino remains the favourite to land the job, especially among the club’s players, new United chief executive Richard Arnold wants to explore the possibility of luring Enrique to Old Trafford on a long-term deal.

But with Enrique determined to lead Spain at the World Cup in Qatar this December, United may have to wait until next year if they want to appoint the 51-year-old.

Would Luis Enrique turn Man Utd’s fortunes around? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section

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SEVILLE, SPAIN – NOVEMBER 14: Luis Enrique manager of Spain looks on during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between Spain and Sweden at Estadio de La Cartuja on November 14, 2021 in Seville. (Photo by Mateo Villalba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
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Mateo Villalba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

United football director John Murtough and technical director Darren Fletcher are understood to have recommended Enrique be added to the shortlist for the permanent job.

Enrique is regarded as having the ideal technical credentials and winning track record required to bring success back to United and end their long wait to be crowned champions again.

Former Spain and Barcelona midfielder Enrique led Barca to a stunning Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey Treble haul in 2015.

He also led Spain to the semi-finals of Euro 2020 last summer and is under contract with the national team until the World Cup this winter.

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Enrique’s reputation for playing attacking football marks him out as an attractive candidate for United, who are also impressed by his track record of having worked with some of the biggest stars in the game, including Lionel Messi.

United, who have never paid compensation for managers since Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down in 2013, are keen to avoid paying out huge sums to land their next permanent boss, a situation they will face with Pochettino and ten Hag, unless both are sacked by their respective clubs before their contracts end.

Against that backdrop, Enrique could be easier to lure to Old Trafford, with United ready to test the strength of his commitment to remaining in the Spain job.

Luis Enrique has a close friendship with Man City boss Pep Guardiola

If United decide to go for Enrique and are made to wait until after the World Cup for him, they could ask Rangnick to remain in charge until December, with the German currently set to stand down at the end of this season.

A fascinating subplot is Enrique’s friendship with Pep Guardiola, who is in charge of United’s rivals Manchester City.

The two Spaniards share the feat of winning trebles with Barcelona and put their name on the managerial map after reigning supreme at the Camp Nou, with Enrique’s 2015 triumph following Guardiola’s 2009 romp.

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Four years ago, while Enrique was being linked with the Chelsea job, the City boss spoke of his admiration and close relationship with his former Barca team-mate.

Guardiola said: “Luis Enrique is one of the best managers I have ever seen . He is a friend of mine so I know he can do whatever he wants..

“He has the level to train everywhere, no problem at all.”

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