Despite a few signs of encouragement in recent weeks, there remains an ever-growing sense that Louis van Gaal's days at Manchester United are numbered. The 64-year-old Dutchman has failed to successfully implement his much-discussed philosophy at Old Trafford and bar a dramatic turnaround in the remaining months of the season, he will surely be replaced in the summer.
For United - and their under-pressure executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward - a huge, history-shaping decision awaits. After Van Gaal, where do you United turn? With Pep Guardiola having already agreed to take charge at Manchester City and with Carlo Ancelotti having replaced him at Bayern Munich, attractive-looking options have become increasingly few and far between.
The Reds could, once again, turn to an experienced coach with a trophy-laden CV, but having been burnt by the Van Gaal experiment, they may be tempted to go in another direction.
One option is current Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino, who has led his dynamic young team to second position in the table.
The 43-year-old Argentine has impressed English fans ever since he swapped La Liga for the Premier League, firstly with Southampton and more recently with Spurs. He has introduced a fluid, attack-minded approach at White Hart Lane, and has also helped develop the likes of Dele Alli and Harry Kane.
However, talk of Pochettino being handed the biggest job in British football on the back, essentially, of a handful of impressive, but not spectacular, seasons seems wildly premature. The former international defender has not won a single trophy as a manager and, perhaps more pertinently, has never worked with world-class players.
That's not to say he does not have the potential to become one of the leading managers in the game - evidence suggests that may still happen. But as United continue to slip further and further behind their domestic and European rivals, that is not a risk they should be prepared to take. Not again.
Instead, United should seek a more experienced coach, who has won trophies, managed in European competitions and worked with big-name players. One such example would be current Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) manager Laurent Blanc, who also has the added advantage of having played at Old Trafford towards the end of his career.
Blanc, 50, has won the French league title with two different clubs, Bordeaux and PSG, while he also led his country into the European Championships in 2012. During this period, he has also coached superstar players such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Angel di Maria.
Whether he could be tempted to swap Paris for Old Trafford is another matter altogether, mind you. But after the ill-fated stewardships of David Moyes and now Van Gaal, Woodward knows this is one managerial appointment he cannot get wrong. For that reason, he must resist the temptation to take a punt on the inexperienced Argentine.