Maradona Wants To Manage Manchester United, And We Think That’s A Great Idea
In the upcoming July issue of FourFourTwo, Argentine legend and current Dorados manager Diego Maradona provides us with a fascinating thought: “If Manchester United need a coach, I’m the man to do it,” he says. “I know they sell lots of shirts around the world, but they need to win trophies, too. I can do that for them.”
Maradona the player, of course, delivered trophies. Maradona the manager, who most famously directed Argentina at the 2010 World Cup, has never done so.
However, in contrast to his short club stints with Textil Mandiyú and Racing in Argentina and Al-Wasl and Fujairah in the UAE, the 58-year-old has demonstrated some longevity with Mexican second division side Dorados. So has he done enough to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjær at Old Trafford?
He “guided” Dorados to the finals of both the Apertura and Clausura playoffs (it’s difficult to say how much influence Maradona actually has as he’s regularly incomprehensible: e.g. I, II, III), only to lose to Atlético San Luis (50 percent owned by Atlético Madrid) by one-goal margins on both occasions, meaning that San Luis earned direct promotion to Liga MX next season while Dorados remains in the second division.
But that doesn’t matter — what matters is the emotion. Red Devils supporters instantly fell in love with Solskjær because he knew how to wax lyrical about the spirit of the club. As Jonathan Wilson wrote, he acted as the “high priest of Fergianity” and somehow managed to mastermind United’s victory at the Parc des Princes with little more than whispers of the chronicle of ’99.
If it’s emotion the club wants, then it’s Maradona on a one-year contract they should get. The highs will never be higher, the lows will come on faster and harder than the morning after going ayo for yayo.
What would be Maradona's approach to managing Manchester United? Well, with Argentina floundering in 2010 World Cup qualifying following consecutive defeats to Ecuador, Brazil and Paraguay, Maradona adopted a more pragmatic approach and secured direct qualification with victories over Peru and Uruguay by utilizing two banks of four, Lionel Messi in a free, central role and Gonzalo Higuain up top.
Everyone thought this would be the approach in South Africa, but Maradona backtracked and went all out. The shape became a 4-4-2 (Carlos Tevez and Higuian up top) with a midfield diamond (Javier Mascherano the only real defensive presence, with Angel Di Maria, Maxi Rodriguez and Messi further forward). This worked pretty spectacularly against South Korea and Mexico, but failed just as spectacularly during a 4-0 quarterfinal defeat to Germany.
Using this blueprint, here’s what United (under the leadership of Maradona) would look like this upcoming season. We’ve got three new additions as part of Diego’s Revolution.
Diego Maradona’s Manchester United Starting XI
GK — David de Gea
LB — Luke Shaw
CB — Victor Lindelöf
CB — Kalidou Koulibaly (already a United transfer target and a Napoli player)
RB – Diogo Dalot
CDM — Scott McTominay
LCM — Jesse Lingard
RCM — Ivan Rakitić (Maradona scouted him at the World Cup, was left impressed but saddened)
CAM — Paulo Dybala (already a United transfer target and Argentine)
LS — Anthony Martial
RS — Marcus Rashford
This is the way forward.