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Manchester United chiefs have reportedly made the decision to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with decisive action likely to be taken as soon as a suitable replacement has been lined up. The majority of the club’s managerial targets are contracted elsewhere which has complicated matters thus far, although the board have allegedly seen enough from the Norwegian to make up their minds.
A torrid run of results preceded the international break, culminating in Manchester City’s dominant 2-0 derby win at Old Trafford.
Liverpool and Leicester handed out convincing defeats before that, while Cristiano Ronaldo had been called on time and time again to rescue points in recent weeks.
After Jurgen Klopp’s side put on a 5-0 triumph at Old Trafford, Antonio Conte allegedly held informal talks over taking the job, although an offer was never on the table.
United’s hesitance back-fired, with Tottenham appointing the Italian soon afterwards, limiting the Red Devils’ options if they were forced to part ways with Solskjaer.
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However, according to the Manchester Evening News, the club have already decided that a change of manager is needed.
Succession plans are already underway, with Brendan Rodgers believed to be their preferred candidate if they are able to prise him away from the King Power Stadium.
If the decision to part company with the Norwegian is clear, the time scale is not, as the ideal replacement needs to be lined up before conclusive action is taken.
The report also states that it could take until the end of the season if their search fails to bear fruit, with a deal for Rodgers likely to be complex.
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The likes of Erik ten Hag and Luis Enrique are also believed to have perked the board’s interest, with both employed by Ajax and Spain respectively.
Sacking Solskjaer, as now appears inevitable, would be a humiliating gaffe for the United hierarchy given he signed a three-year contract as recently as July.
Ed Woodward was believed to be against the idea of giving the 48-year-old his marching orders, with his own tenure as executive vice-chairman due to end in just a few weeks’ time.
Solskjaer remained typically defiant throughout their torrid run, despite the fact they linger nine points off early Premier League leaders Chelsea.
Club legend Sir Alex Ferguson was believed to have lobbied the board to give his former striker more time, although that now appears to have been over-ruled.
Exactly how long Solskjaer’s reign will continue remains to be seen, but the notion of borrowed time may be more applicable now than ever.
If the decision has indeed been taken, the next step may depend on external factors and the willingness of other club’s to let go of their esteemed managers.
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