Manchester United begin the post-Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era this week with interim boss Michael Carrick primed to take charge of the team for their Champions League match against Villarreal on Tuesday.
Following one of the worst displays of the Norwegian’s tenure, going down 4-1 at Watford, United have opted for a change, leaving a complicated legacy for Solskjaer due to his failure to deliver silverware.
It had been a long time coming, too, with The Independent learning that the 48-year-old was made aware that he was under renewed pressure ahead of the trip to Vicarage Road, with United chiefs increasingly concerned about the mood of the players, made worse by the damaging defeat to Manchester City in the derby at Old Trafford. Cristiano Ronaldo’s feelings appear to have ultimately been relevant in the decision too, with the Portuguese superstar growing increasingly agitated by the worrying decline, feelings replicated by his compatriot Bruno Fernandes.
In terms of a longer term interim appointment, rather than an immediate long-term successor, Laurent Blanc has emerged as a strong candidate, before the club make a permanent decision on a figure such as Ajax’s Erik ten Hag in the summer. Blanc was mooted as an option when Solskjaer first arrived to stand in for Jose Mourinho in December 2018, and he has a good relationship with the hierarchy and Sir Alex Ferguson having spent two years at United as a player.
Follow all the latest updates and reaction:
Woodward could delay Manchester United exit to aid new manager search
Manchester United excutive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is potentially set to delay his departure from the club, which is due to come at the end of the year.
Sky Sports report that he was “instrumental” in the call to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and will play a “key role” in the decision-making at the club for months to come, including both the short-term interim boss appointment and the longer-term decision over who to hire as the Norwegian’s more permanent successor.
He has reportedly told the current coaching staff they are all safe in their jobs until season’s end, at which time an overhaul is possible depending on the manager ultimately appointed.
Premier League sackings on the increase?
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was the sixth Premier League manager to be fired this season and it’s still November. He’s the fifth the get the chop in just 32 days.
He follows Daniel Farke, Steve Bruce, Nuno Espirito Santo, Dean Smith and Xisco Munoz in departing top-flight teams this term.
Coincidentally (or not), none of the other five sides who have changed boss this term suffered defeat at the weekend - one of them, Watford, were of course the team to ultimately end Solskjaer’s time in charge.
Manchester United manager search headlines Monday’s rumours
No surprise to see the lead stories on Monday are all about the manager search at Old Trafford.
The names we’ve quickly become familiar with are all involved: Pochettino, Rodgers, Zidane and Ten Hag are all mentioned.
These, and the rest of the day’s transfer rumours, are in our round-up:
Elsewhere, Mason Mount could leave Chelsea while Newcastle may be eyeing a double swoop on United.
Man United linked with Sevilla double deal
A surprise name in the frame is Sevilla manager Julen Lopetegui, who has reportedly been suggested to the Manchester United board by agent Jorge Mendes.
The Athletic say he was in touch with the Old Trafford club after the weekend defeat to Watford and talks have been ongoing for two weeks, with the former Spain boss one of several names in the frame.
And, in a twist, other reports suggest if they do land him they’d be front-runners to sign Jules Kounde, Lopetegui’s centre-back at Sevilla who has been chased by Chelsea.
Brendan Rodgers’ release clause revealed if Man United want him
Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers remains heavily linked with the Manchester United job.
He’s not faring too well himself this season in the league - the Foxes are 12th and lost a fifth game of the Premier League season at the weekend - but he did an excellent job in the previous two campaigns and has been linked with Newcastle and Tottenham recently, too.
Several reports now claim that the Northern Irishman has an £8m clause in his contract if clubs want to take him from Leicester - though he has previously said he didn’t want to discuss any mid-season moves, too.
Zidane holds ‘slight interest’ in Man United manager job
Conflicting reports are all part of the process, aren’t they? Earlier we heard how Zidane wasn’t interested in Old Trafford; here we hear he is, at least marginally - and because of two former stars at Real Madrid.
“They’re saying in Spain [Zidane is] intent to go work with [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Raphael] Varane again,” LaLiga pundit and analyst Terry Gibson told TalkSport.
“I think there might be slight interest now from Zidane.
“There’s been other managers at Real Madrid that have tried to be more complicated, more technical, more tactical but they’ve had nowhere near the amount of success he had.
“So I think where they over-complicate the game, Zidane certainly doesn’t but he knows exactly what he wants and he knows exactly what he’s doing.”
Man United’s cost of getting it wrong
The cost to the club is in trophies, points and performances of course, but Manchester United keeping on getting it wrong in their managerial appointments is hitting them hard in terms of financial cost, too.
David Moyes (£7m), Louis van Gaal (£8.5m), Jose Mourinho (£15m) and now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (£7.5m) means they have paid out £38 million in compensation for sacking managers since Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
That’s about enough to get them the defensive midfielder they apparently still need.
Mauricio Pochettino ready to leave PSG for Manchester United job before summer
Melissa Reddy brings us the latest news in the potential job search - with a suggestion that the Old Trafford bosses can fill the void before the summer if they act decisively.
There’s a potential exchange of head coaches in the works which might see all parties end up happy, with Mauricio Pochettino open to a return to the Premier League and a mid-season switch to Old Trafford.
United have twice botched the opportunity to hire Pochettino, but The Independent understands that the 49-year-old does not want a third shot to be compromised by waiting until the summer.
United have twice botched the opportunity to hire Pochettino, but The Independent understands that the 49-year-old does not want a third shot to be compromised by waiting until the summer
Man United club shop needs a refresh
Well, give the store workers time, it’s only been one day!
Manchester United must learn from Liverpool’s mistakes to return to English football’s summit
It feels like we have been here before. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking has underlined how far and how fast Manchester United have fallen since Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down eight years ago. The situation has echoes of Liverpool’s decline in the 1990s.
Both clubs were the dominant power in English football for almost two decades and abdicated that position when the tenure of an iconic manager came to an unexpected end.
At first it seemed like a blip. Then a creeping malaise set in. United are now eight seasons away from their last title. There is no prospect of the next one being delivered to Old Trafford in May. At a similar point in their history, Liverpool still had more than 20 years to wait before returning to the summit of the domestic game.
Man United must now learn from the Reds’ mistakes if they want a return to the top of the game, writes Tony Evans.
The Red Devils are experiencing a similarly lean period after years of dominance and must now pursue a serious overhaul to become a force in English football once more
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