Alex Ferguson is a legend. There is no question, no doubt, no valid argument against such a statement, and if there is, I'm yet to hear it. That said, he cannot go on forever. A fact he himself acknowledges at various press conferences and post-match interviews with increasing frequency. However, what happens when he does eventually vacate the most prestigious (and daunting) job in world football?
Pep Guardiola is returning to coaching, and at least one older report linked José Mourinho with a move away from his current reign in the Real Madrid hot seat. As usual, the press has been linking these two elite coaches with the Old Trafford post. Although, doesn't all this seem rather fruitless, considering Ferguson reiterated this week he intends to stay on for "another two or three years"?
However, this presents United with a dilemma. When Ferguson does indeed call it a day, will these two premier coaches still be available? Probably not, and even if they are, it is highly probable they will be deemed "unacceptable" by United fans and the board because they will have been either employed (or re-employed, in Mourinho's case) by Chelsea or, even worse, by Manchester City. It is almost unthinkable that they could switch sides considering the now huge rivalry between the two clubs, heightened further by the Arab wealth that has bankrolled City's ascent since 2007.
Would it be wiser on United's behalf to give Ferguson a job "upstairs" and make a move for one of the two "super coaches" this summer, and even if that was the case, would Ferguson's drive AND ego allow himself to be ushered out of the post from which he has dominated English football for over 25 years?
However, there are question marks over how good Guardiola really is. Since his emotional goodbye to the reigns of Barcelona last summer to begin his year-long sabbatical, some have argued his former side are playing even better under the guidance of Guardiola's former assistant Tito Villanova. On the other hand, Mourinho's credentials to deliver an almost constant stream of success are well noted—however, his willingness to take on a job for more than a few years is not. Perhaps then, when the time comes in a few years, United will look to a rather deserving Scot to take on the mammoth task of succeeding Ferguson, and give the job to David Moyes after all.