surinenglish

The natural successor?

Simeone has been at Atleti for seven years.
Simeone has been at Atleti for seven years. / EFE
  • A LOOK AT LA LIGA

  • Diego Simeone would be a great fit for Manchester United but strangely many fans aren't too keen on the Atlético Madrid boss

I'm so surprised that Diego Simeone's name hasn't been more prominent as Manchester United start the worldwide recruitment drive to find their next leader.

The fact that he's reportedly the third best paid coach in the world suggests that he's right up there with the very best there is.

Simeone has broken the duopoly of Barcelona and Real Madrid in Spanish football and also muscled in on the European scene. In seven years he boasts seven majors. At home he's won La Liga and the Copa del Rey while in Europe he's claimed the Europa League twice and reached two Champions League finals.

Strangely the Manchester United fans I've communicated with (they tend to talk at you rather than with you on Twitter) are quite anti the idea of the Argentinian being in the running for their club. Apparently, he's too much like Mourinho?

He's not one of life's natural smilers, so he's no Jürgen Klopp, that's true. The allegation is that he is a defensive coach. Yes, his teams do have excellent defensive records but most importantly they tend to outscore the opposition.

The Atlético supporters certainly appreciate his achievements and their stadium rocks when they are playing at home. Like Pep Guardiola at Barcelona, now Manchester City, and Klopp at Liverpool, his teams do tend to play in his image. His 'man in black' brooding persona certainly works at the Wanda but United fans aren't buying into it.

So, many apologies to the Atlético fans for even suggesting he should move on after seven years and apologies to United fans for suggesting that he has the quality to manage your great club.

There have been stories that he's ready to sign at extension with Atlético (is the only manager I can recall asking for a contract reduction!), so now would be the apt time.

Atlético are ahead of Real Madrid, just behind Barcelona in La Liga and they have a thrilling Champions League tie with Juventus in the New Year. The club's fans are right up there with Liverpool and Manchester City when it comes to buying into the coach's philosophy.

Meanwhile what happens to José Mourinho? When the Sky cameras captured him on the way to Waitrose the day after he was relieved of his duties at Old Trafford, he had the cut of a man who'd won the lottery which I guess he had with a reported £24 -million payoff. What do they say, he'll never have to work again? He will though and it could be a marriage of convenience with Real Madrid. Their last relationship ended in an unpleasant divorce but not all love was lost.

These days the manager is often the superstar at the club as football clubs jostle for the back-page headline. Mourinho is undoubtedly box-office and he'd be welcomed back with open arms by the Spanish sports editors.