Manchester United have reportedly decided to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following an emergency board meeting after the shock 4-1 defeat by Watford on Saturday.
The hapless Norwegian was left apologising to the away end in front of a chorus of boos at Vicarage Road and now looks almost certain to be relieved of his duties following yet another big, unexpected defeat.
The calling of the virtual meeting came as the biggest sign yet that Solskjaer is about to be relieved of his duties as manager, with the Red Devil’s meltdown showing no sign of subsiding.
Former player Darren Fletcher, now a technical director at Old Trafford, would take over for United’s next two matches against Villarreal and Chelsea until a permanent successor can be found, with Zinedine Zidane and Leicester’s Brendan Rodgers on the board’s wishlist.
Solskjaer seemed resigned to leaving the club after watching them collapse at Vicarage Road, giving a ‘farewell’ wave to the travelling fans and admitting in a post-match interview: ‘I am very low.’
The Glazer family called an urgent gathering to determine the direction of the club and whether Solskjaer should remain in charge after the latest unexpected set-back. And according to the Times, the decision has been taken to part ways with the Norwegian yet no official confirmation has been made regarding his position.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is facing the sack at Man United after an emergency meeting was called
Joel and Avram Glazer are said to have called the virtual meeting to discuss Solskjaer’s payout
It was reported that the meeting was officially scheduled for 7pm, a little over two hours after the match, with Solskjaer’s £7.5m compensation terms on the top of its agenda.
It is also claimed that United and the Glazers are now stepping up their interest in Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane, and see the Frenchman – a three-time Champions League winner with the Spanish giants – as the obvious replacement for Solskjaer.
In further reports via the Sun, Solskjaer has now already said his goodbyes to the players and teary staff members, with the inevitable axing now on the horizon.
Solskjaer bid farewell to his staff and players following the brutal defeat with club chiefs to sack him within 48 hours of the final whistle.
The Manchester Evening News also claimed that people in the United camp were in tears following the end result at Vicarage Road and that even the United players believe that the Norwegian will now be axed.
Sacking Solskjaer will cost the club a staggering £7.5million after the Norwegian signed a new three-year deal in July.
The 48-year-old Norwegian has now won just four games in 13 and the collapse in form has been dramatic with the defeat at Vicarage Road following back-to-back home defeats to bitter rivals Manchester City and Liverpool.
The Times says that Joel Glazer has told United officials to ramp up their pursuit of France idol Zidane. It was previously understood that the Frenchman had no desire to take the reins at Old Trafford during mid-season, though is now set to be greeted with a charm offensive as United look to bring him in.
United are now said to be set on bringing in the iconic Zinedine Zidane as their next manager
Leicester City’s Brendan Rodgers has also been touted as an option, but the Northern Irishman himself recently poured cold water on speculation by saying links with Old Trafford simply held no substance.
Speaking immediately after the defeat to Watford, Solskjaer refused to be drawn on questions regarding his immediate future though did admit that the speculation will now be louder than ever before.
‘I’m working for and with the club and I’ve done that for 18 years,’ Solskjaer said in his post-match interview.
‘We’ve got a good communication and if the club were thinking about doing something then that is between me and the club.’
With the defeat at Vicarage Road, United have now lost four of their last five Premier League games, conceding 16 goals in the process and have the worst defensive record of any team in the top-10.
Solskjaer acknowledged the dismal run was a source of embarrassment for him and the players.
United suffered their fifth defeat in seven games as they slipped to a 4-1 loss to Watford
David de Gea ripped into Manchester United for an ’embarrassing’ display away at Watford
‘The results are not good enough, we know that,’ he continued. We’ve gone 30 games unbeaten away from home and now we’ve lost two on the bounce and conceded four goals in both of them, so of course something’s wrong.’
‘I feel for the fans and I feel the same as them – we’re embarrassed by losing the way we do.
‘We know we are in a very bad run and a bad situation, but that’s football and I know they’ll support whoever is on the pitch every day, and sometimes you’ve got to say sorry.’
When it comes to Zidane, it has been reported that the Frenchman’s wife Veronique is opposed to the idea of living in Manchester and would prefer her him to take a longer break before returning to football.
Despite this, however, the prospect of linking up with two of his former Madrid talismen – Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphael Varane – is said to hold great appeal to Zidane, and would make his task of rebuilding the foundations at Old Trafford somewhat easier.