The only next Man Utd manager option that truly makes sense from four-man shortlist

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The Red Devils could look to replace Erik ten Hag this summer

The managerial merry-go-round is whirring at such a rate of knots that it is threatening to break loose of its fixtures and foundations before careering off into the atmosphere like a giant garish frisbee. The same names are being linked with the same jobs by the same outlets; Kieran McKenna to Manchester United... Kieran McKenna to Chelsea... Thomas Frank to Manchester United... Thomas Frank to Chelsea... It is a ceaseless zoetrope, and one that is likely to spin long after my typing fingers have stiffened beyond us and Artificial Intelligence has enslaved us all. Cheery thought.

For now, however, let us turn a blind eye to our impending doom - such is humanity’s way - and instead, allow us to focus in on the aforementioned United’s hunt for a new victim. Sorry, manager. New manager. According to reports, the Red Devils have drawn up a four-man shortlist, presumably in crayon and macaroni pieces, consisting of Kieran McKenna, Thomas Frank, Mauricio Pochettino, and Thomas Tuchel. The latter two, for what it’s worth, have not been linked with Chelsea for obvious reasons. That being said, never rule out Todd Boehly to enact the unexpected.

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It is understood that, more specifically, talks between United and McKenna are underway, with suggestions that incoming chief executive Omar Berrada and recently-appointed technical director Jason Wilcox both met with the 38-year-old’s representatives last week. Brighton, single and ready to mingle, are also circling with intent, while somewhere in the background a man with a mullet smoking rollies apathetically shouts ‘If you wanna go faster, you’ve gotta scream louder’ over a PA system.

Ordinarily, it is at this point that you would be forgiven for hammering the side of your fist against the glass, screaming at McKenna entirely unheard like that Walter White meme in the back of the car or that scene in Shrek 2 where Princess Fiona mistakes Prince Charming for our newly-handsome ogre protagonist. Chalices don’t come much more poisoned than United’s, and McKenna’s stock is teetering on the cusp of explosion. But somehow, something about the prospect of the precocious tactician returning to Old Trafford feels strangely... okay.

Prior to his revelatory stint at Ipswich Town - winning successive promotions from League One and the Championship to catapult the Tractor Boys back into the Premier League for the first time since 2002 - McKenna was on the books in Manchester, working as an assistant to both Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as well as managing the U21s in his own right. His appointment would, therefore, come with an air of the hardfought homecoming, and one that would seemingly tick a lot of boxes for a club in stagnation.

Often, casual observers and bereft devotees alike talk about ‘The Manchester United Way’. It is a relatively intangible concept that encompasses aesthetic value and a kind of ruthless composure in equal measure, and that ultimately yearns for a messianic figure capable of reinstating the fearsome, swaggering aura of the Ferguson era.

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There have been many false dawns, many misread omens and wild goose chases and David Moyeses, but to look at the body of work that McKenna has already constructed and to see the manner in which he has done so is to feel that familiar twitch of simmering hope. Maybe he is The Second Coming, the one that the prophecies foretold. If he can be prised away from Ipswich this summer, McKenna might just be worth a punt. At the very least, he surely has to be a more invigorating option than Thomas Frank. No offence, Tommy.

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