Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under scrutiny over his performance as manager of Manchester United almost a year on from replacing Jose Mourinho in December 2018.
Mauricio Pochettino has long been a name that a section of fans have called upon to take command at Old Trafford and as luck would have it the Argentinian is now available.
Spurs took the decision to sack the former Espanyol and Southampton manager after a disappointing start to his sixth season in charge at Hotspur Way.
Mourinho, the man who was dismissed by United prior to the appointment of Solskjaer, is now the head coach at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
What if there was another twist to the tale and Pochettino moved north to take on the task of returning the 20-time champions of England back to the top?
football.london booted up Football Manager 2020 to find out.
Mauricio Pochettino at Manchester United
First season results
Premier League: fifth
Europa League: round of 16 (Inter)
FA Cup: semi-finals (Man City)
Carabao Cup: semi-finals (Liverpool)
A top four finish is the bare minimum required by a United team that needs Champions League and after taking charge of Solskjaer’s under-performing side Pochettino did climb up the table.
It wasn’t enough to ensure his team ended up where they needed to but the Argentinian was under no pressure at the end of his first season.
He may not have delivered silverware but two semi-final appearances in the Carabao Cup and FA Cup were enough to placate the board and supporters.
Pochettino also did exactly what was demanded of him when it came to other aspects of the job promoting the youth.
Angel Gomes, Axel Tuanzebe, Mason Greenwood and Tahith Chong all enjoyed plenty of minutes under the former Spurs boss.
How Man United played under Pochettino
Pochettino lined his team up in a 4-2-3-1 shape with Fred partnering Paul Pogba in midfield behind a fluid front four of Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Marcus Rashford.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw flanked the centre-backs Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof, with David De Gea in goal.
Daniel James and Scott McTominay also had important regular roles in the team.
The problem for Pochettino, as was also the case at Tottenham, came against rivals from the so-called top six.
He won only on game in this mini-league – and in the domestic cups – although it was an away victory over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
Liverpool ended up as champions with City finishing second, Chelsea in third and Tottenham fourth – Mourinho had certainly made an impact since he came in to replace Pochettino.
But how did United get on in the Argentinian’s second season?
Pochettino’s second season at United
Premier League: sixth
Europa League: round of 16 (Sevilla)
FA Cup: third round (Chelsea)
Carabao Cup: quarter-finals (Liverpool)
In the summer transfer window Pochettino was backed and spent heavily.
United splurged £195million on signing striker Arkadiusz Milik from Napoli, midfielder Donny van de Beek from Ajax, full-back Ignace Van Der Brempt from Club Brugge, centre-back Luiz Felipe from Lazio, defensive midfielder Wilfried Ndidi from Leicester City and Zinho Vanheusden from Standard Liege.
In terms of sales, Victor Lindelof was sold to Arsenal. Andreas Pereira left for Leicester. Marcos Rojo joined Huddersfield Town. Nemanja Matic moved to Al-Ain on a free.
The club were going all out on getting back a place in the Champions League and winning trophies under manager who was supposed to be the answer to all their dilemmas.
Pochettino’s team changed.
Greenwood – not Milik – came to replace Martial up top although the Frenchman was still one of the players to make the most appearances, splitting his time between being a striker and a left winger, rotating with Rashford.
Ndidi and Van de Beek were the new midfield two with Pogba deployed in the hole. Luiz Felipe was Maguire’s new partner in defence. Chong and Daniel James shared minutes across all competitions as the team’s right wingers.
For most of the early months of the season, Pochettino was able to guide his side into the top four, only for their form to collapse in January.
Additional signings in January failed to make the difference. Krzysztof Piatek came in from Milan for £49million alongside less heralded deals for youngsters Bafode Diakite and Frederic Laurent.
It wasn’t enough. The team’s form did not improve and by March, Ed Woodward and the board had seen enough. Pochettino was sacked. Didier Deschamps was appointed.
Paul Pogba’s unhappiness at the situation at Old Trafford saw his club bring in the manager under whom he had won a World Cup in 2018.
For the former Tottenham boss it was all over.
When it came to the players who made the most appearances under Pochettino, his determine to make the most out of the squad and youth players he inherited stood out.
Over in north London meanwhile Mourinho too was under pressure.
Spurs finished fifth in his second season at Hotspur Way.
With no silverware to point to after failing to secure Champions League football his position was listed as unstable by the summer of 2021.