Forget Gareth Southgate - Man Utd should only be after one manager if Erik ten Hag is sacked

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The England manager has been linked with a sensational move to Old Trafford this summer.

We're getting a new James Bond, apparently. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, that bloke who played John Lennon in Nowhere Boy and who donned a mask with Nicolas Cage in Kick-Ass is, according to reports, on the verge of being unveiled as the eighth 007, replacing Daniel Craig. Finally, Craig will now be free to give the people what they truly want; an all-Muppet instalment of the Knives Out franchise in which he plays the only human character.

When an actor walks away from the role of Bond, it can often be hard to think of them as anything else for a time. It is not so much that they have been typecast, but rather that the assignment is so iconic, so ubiquitous that it has a tendency to cling to reputations in welcome and unwelcome ways alike. See also, Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter. I happen to feel the same way about Gareth Southgate too.

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Perhaps it is because he has been in the job for such a long time, or perhaps it is because his career at club level never made it beyond the banks of the Tees, but I simply cannot imagine the Waistcoated One as anything other than England manager. Sir Jim Ratcliffe, however, absolutely can.

According to yet another round of reports from various outlets, the new Manchester United chief has decided that he would like Southgate to come and work for him at Old Trafford. Naturally, all of this will depend on whether or not the Red Devils decide to drive into the countryside and leave Erik ten Hag in a cardboard box beneath a weathered old oak tree this summer, but if they do, you better believe that Gareth is the man they want to usurp him.

Now, we've spoken about this before, but for the sake of reiteration, allow us to tap the sign once again: this very probably isn't a good idea. While Southgate has worked wonders (albeit minor ones) for England, he is achingly unproven as a domestic manager, and hasn't been in charge of a club side in nigh on a decade-and-a-half. Then, of course, there is the fact that his tactical approach is frequently laced with exactly the kind of drab conservatism that would cause a run on any reserves of green and yellow wool in the Greater Manchester region. And that's to say nothing of the other pressures that come with the United job - the thickness of skin required and the weekly scrutiny that simply cannot compare to the ebbs and flows of international management.

In other words, Southgate would be a gamble, and maybe one that United, hurtling towards this apparent period of Ratcliffe-sponsored transition, can ill afford to get wrong. But there are other alternatives out there. Take Thomas Tuchel, for instance.

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With his high cheekbones, cerebral manner, and vaguely continental accent, Tuchel could actually be a Bond villain, come to think of it. But as far as United are concerned, he may also be the august footballing brain that they have been crying out for. There is no denying the German's pedigree, with his Champions League title and his smattering of other shiny thingamabobs, but more important still are the qualities that experience among the absolute elite has afforded him; his general demeanour of calm, his knack for untangling Gordian riddles.

Presumably, Tuchel will be available this summer too. Already, it has been announced that he will leave Bayern Munich at the end of the campaign, 12 months earlier than initially expected, and while the likes of former club Chelsea have been touted as willing suitors, there are those in the know who are insistent that he is also intrigued by the project on offer at Old Trafford.

You fancy, then that the stars are conspiring to align. United could oust their manager just as one of the very best in Europe, who might actually be willing to take a punt on them, sidles into unemployment. Indeed, the only person who could derail this cosmic serendipity is Ratcliffe himself; here's hoping he doesn't go and do something stupid like appoint Gareth Southgate instead.

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