Following an emergency meeting following Saturday’s 4-1 loss to Watford, Manchester United’s board has decided to remove Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
United’s first-half performance at Vicarage Road was one of the worst of Solskjaer’s tenure, as they were two goals down at the interval. United were given a lifeline when Donny van de Beek scored, but Harry Maguire’s dismissal ruined any chances of a comeback, as Claudio Ranieri’s side went on to score twice more in injury time.
United have now lost five of their past seven Premier League games, and the club’s management convened talks following the loss to evaluate Solskjaer’s future.
According to The Times, United have decided to fire Solskjaer, with the club’s owners believing the Norwegian and his coaching staff have created a team that is “less than the sum of its parts.”
United will also pay £7.5 million in compensation to Solskjaer, who signed a new contract in July that was set to last until 2024, according to the source.
The Glazer family is said to have urged United’s management to step up their pursuit of Zinedine Zidane, the former Real Madrid manager, as their preferred replacement for Solskjaer.
Meanwhile, according to the Manchester Evening News, Darren Fletcher, who was named as United’s technical director in March, is in line to take over the team on an interim basis.
Fletcher, who played roughly 350 times for United, was coaching the club’s Under-16s team last year before joining the first-team coaching staff in January.
Only a few months later, the former Scotland international was promoted to technical director.
United’s Champions League tie against Villarreal on Tuesday evening will be Fletcher’s first game as interim manager.
United’s management had planned to see out the season with Solskjaer in charge, but they were obliged to act after the team’s poor form showed no signs of abating.
United’s decision to fire Solskjaer has been delayed due to a lack of options, with Zidane indicating that he would not be interested in moving to Old Trafford.
According to the Times, Zidane’s wife, Veronique, is ‘against’ relocating to Manchester and would rather for her husband to continue his rest from football.
Zidane has been out of job since leaving Real Madrid at the end of last season, and it’s widely assumed that he wants to succeed Didier Deschamps as France’s next head coach.
United have also considering Brendan Rodgers, but would have to pay a £16 million buyout clause to get him out of his Leicester City deal.
After Leicester’s defeat to Chelsea on Saturday, Rodgers was asked about his link with United again, but the former Liverpool manager denied that it was a factor in his team’s poor performance against Thomas Tuchel’s side.
‘Not at all,’ says the narrator. ‘I said last week that it was nothing, that it wasn’t real, and I told our players about it,’ Rodgers added.
‘It has nothing to do with it,’ says the narrator.
Similarly, following his links with United, Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag reaffirmed his future last weekend, insisting that he has no ambitions to leave the Dutch club before the season ends.
‘I live in the now, so I find it difficult to respond,’ he stated in an ESPN interview.
‘I’m constantly looking to enhance my team, and as long as I’m motivated, I’m willing to keep going if Ajax is as well.’