Is sick Fergie ready to make way for Guardiola?

It's time for a new Pep talk at Old Trafford

The signs may be ominous, but Manchester United who were pipped at the post by rivals City, seriously need some injection of young blood.

For a club to rely on old hands like Paul Scholes who has been forced out of retirement during a mid-term crisis and then have his contract renewed for another season, appears to be a sign of desperation.

United may have a policy of investing in youth who come through the ranks instead of going for big names signings like Wesley Sneijder, but the pressure of being at the helm for quarter of a century seems to be taking its toll on Sir Alex Ferguson.

He was reported to be recovering well on Saturday night after suffering a health scare in Glasgow, according to the Daily Mail.

The Manchester United manager was taken ill on Friday night at the city’s Thistle Hotel, where he was due to speak at a dinner marking the 40th anniversary of Rangers’ European Cup-Winners’ Cup success.

Around 1,000 guests at the function were told he had pulled out for personal reasons. But it is understood that the 70-year-old, who has received treatment in the past for a heart problem, was taken to hospital by ambulance after having a nosebleed that would not stop.

His condition was not reported to be serious and he was admitted as a precaution.

However, it begs the question whether it is time for a change of guard especially when someone in the calibre of Pep Guardiola who has enjoyed unprecedented success during a short span of four years at Barcelona is available.

Ferguson's iconic status at Old Trafford is assured but their failure to even broach the subject of succession could be detrimental in the long run.


He enjoys immunity like no other manager in the world making him the envy of rivals like longstanding Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.
 
If Arsenal had lost a derby home and away, were facing a season without a trophy and were dumped out of Europe embarrassingly – the calls for his head at the Emirates would have been louder than the chants at the Etihad.
 
Yet, the bruising (away) and battering (home) that United have suffered against Manchester City only leaves Old Trafford with the certainty that Sir Alex will continue as manager – at least until he wins the Premier League title back.
 
Ferguson believes he has unfinished business and will have greater motivation to end his career on a high by seeing United win a record 20th league title.

However, even the most die-hard of Red Devils will now have time to ponder and question if Sir Alex got it wrong tactically so many times this season – that it was not the injuries that cost United, but the lack of a fresh approach, facing a fresh challenge.
 
From the Liverpool away game much earlier in the season, where United seemed happy to come away with a point, to closing down the game against Everton (like City did), the final analysis will show that Sir Alex has got it wrong.
 
Is this the time to be talking about Fergie’s retirement?
 
That question as often been halted in its tracks by the lack of a clear replacement.
 
One who can continue the Scot’s “winning mentality”, but still play the free-flowing football associated with United.
 
Perhaps for the first time, a candidate is available.
 
In all the myriad roles that the media have speculated Pep Guardiola being associated with after Barcelona, Manchester United has never been among them.
 
Yet, if United are looking for a winner with the DNA of Sir Alex, strangely, Guardiola would be the one.
 
He has the mentality, he plays the football, he knows the pressure, he is available.
 
Sir Alex has been at United over 20 years. Manchester City have brought a new change in the Premier League.
 
Perhaps it is time for a change at Old Trafford.
 
Instead of the hair-dryer, perhaps it’s time for a Pep talk.
 

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