Manchester United will act quickly to name a successor to Sir Alex Ferguson with early reports suggesting that a replacement will be announced within the next 48 hours.

The 71-year-old will stand down as manager after 26 glory-laden years at Old Trafford that heralded 38 major trophies including 13 league titles, two Champions League crowns, five FA Cups and four League Cups.

Sir Alex Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson will step down as manager of Manchester United at the end of the season. [Reuters]

Ferguson will remain at the club and will now become a director and ambassador, meaning that whoever fills the hotseat will still be working alongside the Scot in some capacity.

As soon as Manchester United made the official announcement a host of managers were linked with the role. Everton boss David Moyes and Real Madrid's Jose Mourinho are the two outstanding favourites, while Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp is also said to be in the running after leading his side to the Champions League final.

Former Manchester United defender Gordon McQueen feels as though Moyes would be the perfect candidate as he has similar qualities to Ferguson.

"I hope it's David Moyes," McQueen told Sky Sports. "I think he has got a lot of the traits Sir Alex has got. He's got a tremendously strong work ethic. He's young and enthusiastic and strong on discipline. I think he would be a fantastic choice."

The Everton boss is out of contract at the end of the season and there has been plenty of speculation that he will leave the club in the summer. He has quickly become the bookmakers favourite to succeed Ferguson but there has been no official word on any approach.

However, Sky Sports believe that a replacement will be named within the next two days, which would suggest that United have already made an approach and are confident they have got their man.

Mourinho is also a leading contender as the former Chelsea boss has made it clear that he is ready to leave Real Madrid at the end of the season. There was a feeling that he would be returning to Stamford Bridge but reports now suggest that Roman Abramovich is unwilling to pay the £17million compensation required to release the 'Special One' from his contract which runs until 2016.

Mourinho is known to have a good relationship with Ferguson but has always sought for sole control of a club and may not enjoy the fact that the Scot would hold a powerful position at the club.