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Equal Time: Leonardo Jardim is the perfect choice for Manchester United

Monday 15th October 2018
Jonathan Kahn says Leonardo Jardim is the ideal candidate to replace Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.
Jonathan Kahn says Leonardo Jardim is the ideal candidate to replace Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.

If you believe the media reports, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho's living on borrowed time. One or two further bad performances or results could goad the United board into ejecting the Portuguese from the manager's seat he craved above all others. And it didn't even come with an Aston Martin.

Zinedine Zidane and Mauricio Pochettino hover in Mourinho's rearview like agents of Spectre. After promoting the two men to death, media outlets seized upon a new candidate. In their scattershot way, they may have finally hit the target. Who knows whether Leonardo Jardim desires Mourinho's job as much as Javier Bardem wanted Daniel Craig's but the newly unemployed Monaco boss may be the Special One's perfect replacement.

Those who oppose the notion will point out he's just been sacked. Other than Pep Guardiola and Zinedine Zidane, what manager hasn't been shown the door? Espanyol handed Poch his walking papers in 2012. Monaco hovers perilously close to the Ligue 1 relegation zone, winless in 10 games across all competitions. Hardly the best advert for a future Manchester United manager. Of course, the argument conveniently ignores that Mourinho himself was hired shortly after Chelsea sacked him with the club languishing in 15th place. Mourinho won the league the previous campaign in somewhat predictable fashion. Jardim stunned French juggernauts Paris Saint-Germain out of the blue two seasons ago.

Jardim can legitimately claim mitigating circumstances when it comes to Monaco’s struggles. Over the past four seasons, Monaco owner Dmitry Rybolovlev sold James Rodriguez, Benjamin Mendy, Fabinho, Tiemoue Bakayako, Bernardo Silva, Joao Moutinho, Thomas Lemar and, worst of all, Kylian Mbappe out from under his manager. It’s unrealistic to sell that level of talent and not expect a severe dip in form.

Replacements Stevan Jovetic and Youri Tielmans offer promise but are simply not on the same level as their predecessors. Additionally, ageing stars Kamil Glik [30] and Radamel Falcao [32] are struggling. Monaco is headed to have tea with Southampton. Selling high and buying low at this rate inevitably invites decline.

That isn't how United does business. Jardim would have more time to work with academy products like Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Scott McTominay, Andreas Pereira, Angel Gomes, Mason Greenwood and Tahith Chong.

Monaco's style under Jardim should also appeal to United supporters. Les Monagasques scored an incredible 107 goals while winning Ligue 1 and reaching the Champions League semifinals. Old Trafford regulars crave thrilling football. With Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku, Juan Mata, Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba and the aforementioned young stars on the books, Jardim would find the personnel waiting to provide it.

His commitment to youth would also advance his profile with the club. Anthony Martial was handed his debut by Jardim, as were Mbappe, Lemar and Bakayoko. The talent wasting away in the United first team and youth set-up would find new life under the Venezuelan.

The win-now crowd at Old Trafford believes Jardim won't cope with the egos in the clubhouse. This is a man who managed two World Cup heroes [James Rodriguez, Danijel Subasic] and Radamel Falcao. The United stars won't faze him.

Reasons to appoint the 44-year-old are evident. He'll also be a bargain compared to the compensation necessary to secure either Pochettino or Zidane. The Frenchman's reluctance to come to England, not to mention his reliance on proven stars, should count against him. If Mourinho does lose his '00-' managerial status, Leonardo Jardim is the perfect man to step into the role. 

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Jonathan Kahn

I love the Premier League and I am a season ticket holder at Manchester United. However, I do follow my local club Bury FC as much as possible. I'm a lover of all things related to football, especially like the odd game of FIFA and more than the odd game of Football Manager. If you don't find me talking about actual football you will usually find me talking about Fantasy Football. I'm a self-confessed addict. 

I'm definitely a football addict.


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