Sir Alex Ferguson is hoping to retire after next season due to health concerns, according to Wigan Athletic chairman Dave Whelan.
The 70-year-old Manchester United boss suffered a concerning nosebleed that would not stop last week, and had to be taken to a Glasgow Hospital.
But close friend Whelan says he knows Ferguson will want to carry on for some time yet.
“I would say he is the best manager that there has ever been, and if and when he does pack it in, he will be an enormous loss to the game,” the DW Sports magnate told ESPN.
“Sir Alex is resilient and I know he will want to carry on until he drops, and I respect what he has achieved as everyone does.”
After winning 37 trophies in 25 years at the club, the Scot is arguably the most decorated manager in the game.
Although United’s loss of the title on the final day of the season to bitter rivals Manchester City will no doubt have left a sour taste in Fergie’s mouth, he will no doubt be looking to put the wheels back in motion next season.
Sir Alex has repeatedly denied calls for his retirement in years gone by, but Whelan said Ferguson will take health over trophy hauls.
“The older you get the harder it is to cope with all that pressure, and eventually it will affect you,” Whelan said.
“"I am sure his intention was to carry on for two or three, maybe even more years, but he has had a little scare in the last week or so.
“That tells me he will think very hard, and realise there is no point trying to carry on for another five years and take the risk.”
Whelan said Ferguson’s achievements will be hard to match by anybody.
“The way he has had such unparalleled success, the way he knows how to choose the right players and then get even more out of them, that makes him the best manager ever, the best we have ever seen.
“After next season, Sir Alex will call it a day.”