Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will leave his job as Manchester United manager after the 4-1 defeat to Watford in the Premier League.
Board talks on Saturday evening concluded that Solskjaer can no longer be the man in charge of the United first team, The Athletic reports. The Glazer family, who own the club, decided to offer Solskjaer a compensation package. “The club are determined to ensure Solskjaer receives a respectful parting, with a formal announcement expected in due course,” the Athletic writes.
It’s expected that former United midfielder Darren Fletcher will take over on an interim basis. It’s possible that he could be assisted by Michael Carrick, who was also part of Solskjaer’s staff. Man. United would like Zinedine Zidane to become the next permanent manager at Old Trafford, with talks ongoing.
Against Watford, United lost their fifth game from the last seven Premier League outings, dropping to seventh in the table on 17 points.
Solskjaer said he felt capable of turning things around following the latest league trashing, but it’s expected that he won’t be in charge of the game against Villarreal in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Solskjaer was appointed interim manager himself in December 2018 after Jose Mourinho’s sacking. He earned himself a permanent role thanks to consistent results and signed a three-year contract in March 2019. United finished second in the Premier League in 2021 and Solskjaer has penned a new, improved three-year deal in July.
Manchester United are on the lookout for their fifth permanent manager since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure, in 2013.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) November 20, 2021
Who will replace Solskjaer?
Ole, 48, is a former Manchester United striker, so his relationship with the fans was always excellent. Supporters were excited to have him in the dugout and felt he was the right man for the job after Solskjaer guided United to third in his first full season, 2019/20. United climbed to second the following campaign, also playing the Europa League final against Villarreal, which they lost.
The natural ambition of Manchester United was to fight for the league title this season, but things didn’t go according to plan. The Red Devils signed Varane from Real Madrid, Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund and also sealed Cristiano Ronaldo’s spectacular return, but struggled in the league and failed to impress in the Champions League as well.
Solskjaer was given two votes of confidence by the board. First, it happened in the aftermath of the humiliating home defeat to Liverpool, 5-0, then after arch-rivals Manchester City had fun at Old Trafford and won the Manchester Derby 2-0.
Antonio Conte showed interest in the United job in October, but ended up signing for Tottenham after they came knocking on his door following Nuno Espirito Santo’s sacking. Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers is also a potential target for United, but the main target remains Zinedine Zidane. The Frenchman left Real Madrid last summer, but is reluctant to take over during the season. The Glazers have asked their negotiation team to up their offer, hoping to finally convince Zidane to accept.
Bookies currently have Rodgers as their favorite to replace Solskjaer at +130, with Zinedine Zidane behind at +200. Ajax head coach Erik Ten Hag follows at +600, while PSG’s boss Mauricio Pochettino stands at +1,500. Michael Carrick is seen as a very long shot appointment at +3,300, the same as Laurent Blanc (Al Rayan) and Max Allegri (Juventus).