Zinedine Zidane and Manchester United – a match made in heaven or an accident waiting to happen?
The former Real Madrid boss is still being heavily touted to take over from Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford, but is he really the man the club needs? Let’s start this off with a resounding ‘No’.
Three Champions League successes in a row with Madrid have given Zidane an impressive CV, but doubts about his managerial ability still remain.
It could be argued that he struck lucky at the Bernabeu Stadium, inheriting a squad that didn’t need much doing to it.
With the added bonus of Cristiano Ronaldo at the peak of his powers, Zidane certainly landed on his feet.
Madrid won La Liga under the Frenchman in 2016/17, but they put up a disappointing defence of their title last term.
They finished in third place, 17 points behind champions Barcelona, and with their lowest points tally (76) in the Spanish top flight since 2007.
Zidane quickly jumped ship when he realised he wouldn’t have Ronaldo’s talents to fall back on and the squad he has left behind have been largely unimpressive thus far.
Replacing Mourinho with Zidane would be a recipe for disaster. The reality of the current situation at United is that their problems go far beyond who is in the manager’s chair.
There was a time when success at United was judged in very simplistic terms – trophies. Commercial growth was driven by what happened on the pitch.
All of that changed the minute Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill left the club. Now the likes of executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward are focused on other metrics such as having the biggest social media presence or the best sponsorship deals. Trophies? They barely get a mention.
Given that backdrop, and the lack of Ronaldo at Old Trafford, what makes anyone think that Zidane would fare any better than Mourinho?
United would still need a top-class centre-half. Woodward would probably put a block on it. Pogba would turn it on for a few weeks under his compatriot, but the minute Barcelona came calling he’d stop performing – again.
Zidane hardly covered himself in glory with his man-management of Gareth Bale, so he’s highly unlikely to be able to handle a high-maintenance prima-donna like Pogba.
The Frenchman, like Mourinho, also wouldn’t have the same luxury that Ferguson had of a conveyor belt of young talent progressing into the first team, because the standards in that department were allowed to slip by the club after his retirement.
The reality is that while the off-field structure at United remains as it is, success on the pitch will be hard to come by. Even Ferguson would struggle to replicate his success in the current set-up.
Replacing Mourinho with Zidane simply makes no sense unless change happens higher up the scale. Unfortunately for United fans, that is unlikely to happen any time soon.