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Graham Potter to be high on Manchester United shortlist if Sir Jim Ratcliffe chooses to sack Erik ten Hag – Sky Sports

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Graham Potter has been out of work since sacking by Chelsea in April and is admired by Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sir Dave Brailsford; Erik ten Hag under pressure after overseeing three defeats in Man Utd’s last four games but current hierarchy at Old Trafford have no plans to change manager
By Rob Dorsett
Friday 15 December 2023 06:11, UK
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Graham Potter is expected to be high on Manchester United’s shortlist of managerial candidates once INEOS are running football operations – if they decide to part company with Erik ten Hag.
However, it is clear the current hierarchy at Old Trafford has no plans to change manager and there has been no approach – even loosely – to any potential successor.
The story was first reported by The Sun and Sky Sports News understands Potter will be considered for the top job at United by the incoming INEOS executives if results do not improve.
United were knocked out of Europe on Tuesday night, three days after a 3-0 home defeat to Bournemouth that leaves them sixth in the Premier League.
It is thought United’s injury crisis is seen as at least some mitigation for the recent poor results and there is still broad alignment with the Dutchman’s long-term vision.
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However, United go to Anfield on Sunday – where they lost 7-0 last season – live on Sky Sports. A similarly heavy defeat would heap yet more pressure on Ten Hag.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s investment in United is expected to be concluded in the coming days, though it will take up to two months for the deal to be formally ratified by the Premier League.
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That inevitably means a prolonged period of uncertainty and if results do not improve, it is hard to see Ten Hag surviving in his position long-term within the new structure.
Much is still unknown about Ratcliffe’s intentions but at Nice – another club owned by INEOS – there have been five managerial changes in the last four years.
Ratcliffe and his team are known to have met with Potter in the past and even considered him for the manager’s role at the Ligue 1 club.
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Sir Dave Brailsford – the INEOS director of sport – has been carrying out a full audit at Old Trafford in readiness for the new structure, which will see INEOS take total control of football operations.
Brailsford’s priority is said to be to improve the operational structure of the football department, rather than focus solely on the manager.
There are question marks over whether United could afford to change the whole coaching team at the club and still remain within the Premier League’s profitability and sustainability rules.
Nevertheless, Brailsford – the former head of British Cycling – has built his career around a scientific approach to elite sport and it is thought that is a key factor in his and Ratcliffe’s admiration of Potter who, alongside his coaching qualifications, also has a masters degree in leadership and emotional intelligence.
It is understood Ratcliffe and Brailsford can see beyond Potter’s failure at Chelsea, where he lasted less than a season, and think he is of the right calibre and mindset to carry out the long-term rebuilding job at Old Trafford – if Ten Hag cannot improve results on the field quickly.
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There are still many factors that need to align for Potter to be given the top job at United. Firstly and most importantly, there will be no change of manager before INEOS complete their partial buy-out of the club.
Secondly, Ratcliffe and his team would have to be sure that removing Ten Hag was the best course of action. Finally, Potter would have to convince the new bosses that he was the best option to lead the team going forward.
But it is clear INEOS understand the difficult circumstances that surrounded Potter’s time at Stamford Bridge and it is equally obvious they share his data-driven approach to elite sport.
They also value his academic approach to coaching, which brought so much success at Ostersunds, Swansea and Brighton.
Sky Sports News senior reporter Rob Dorsett:
“This is the biggest change we’ve seen at Manchester United in two decades, when INEOS does take charge of football operations under Sir Jim Ratcliffe.
“Sir Dave Brailsford, their director of sport, has been evaluating Manchester United for the past couple of months in readiness for the part-takeover.
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“That’s inevitably going to lead to uncertainty over the manager’s future. When you add in the poor results Manchester United have had on the pitch, you can understand where that uncertainty comes from.
“United have lost seven of their 16 Premier League games. It’s not good and there is growing noise around the future of Erik ten Hag.
“But none of that noise is coming from inside Manchester United – the existing football bosses at Old Trafford have no plans to change their manager. But clearly Erik ten Hag has been told results need to improve quickly.
“After the abject failure of Potter’s time at Chelsea, there’ll be a lot of people surprised that he could be linked to another top job.
“But he’s still very highly thought of within football and a lot of people like his philosophy and approach to the game.
“Ratcliffe and his team can see beyond what happened at Chelsea, and can see that was a difficult and unique situation.”
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