Manchester United board decide to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after emergency meeting

Manchester United’s hierarchy have opted to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Reuters)

Manchester United’s board have decided to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following an emergency meeting after the 4-1 defeat to Watford on Saturday.

United delivered one of the worst first-half performances of Solskjaer’s tenure at Vicarage Road as they were two goals down by the break. Donny van de Beek scored to give United a lifeline but Harry Maguire’s red card ended hopes of a comeback as Claudio Ranieri’s side went on to score twice more in injury time.

The result leaves United with five defeats in their last seven Premier League games and after the match the club’s hierarchy held talks to determine Solskjaer’s future.

According to The Times, United have now made the decision to dismiss Solskjaer, with the report claiming that the club’s owners believe the Norwegian and his coaching team have made a side ‘less than the sum of its parts’.

The report also claims that United will pay £7.5 million in compensation to Solskjaer, who signed a new contract in July which was due to run until 2024.

It’s understood that the Glazer family have now instructed United’s hierarchy to step up their pursuit of Zinedine Zidane as the former Real Madrid boss is their first-choice candidate to replace Solskjaer.

Meanwhile, Manchester Evening News reports that Darren Fletcher, who was appointed as United’s technical director in March, is in the frame to take charge of the team on an interim basis.

Manchester United will pay £7.5 million in compensation to dismiss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (PA)

Fletcher, who made nearly 350 appearances as a player for United, was coaching the club’s Under-16s side last year before he became part of the first-team staff in January.

The former Scotland international was then moved to his technical director role just a few months later.

Fletcher’s first game in temporary charge of United is set to be their Champions League tie away to Villarreal on Tuesday evening.

Darren Fletcher is in line to become Manchester United’s interim manager (PA)

United’s hierarchy had hoped to see out the season with Solskjaer in charge but have now been forced to act as the team’s slump showed no signs of ending.

A lack of options has contributed to the delay in the decision from United to dismiss Solskjaer, with Zidane giving no indication that he would be willing to make the move to Old Trafford.

The Times also report that Zidane’s wife, Veronique, is ‘opposed’ to moving to Manchester and would prefer her husband to continue his break away from football.

Zidane has been out of work since leaving Real Madrid at the end of last season and it’s understood that his preference is to become France’s next head coach after Didier Deschamps.

Zinedine Zidane is Manchester United’s top choice to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Getty)

United have also considered Brendan Rodgers but they would be required to pay a £16m buyout clause to release him from his contract with Leicester City.

Rodgers was asked again about his link with United after Leicester’s defeat to Chelsea on Saturday but the former Liverpool boss denied that it was a factor behind his team’s poor performance against Thomas Tuchel’s side.

‘No, not at all. I said in the week that it’s nothing, it wasn’t real and I spoke to our players on that,’ Rodgers said.

‘Absolutely nothing to do with it.’

Similarly, Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag clarified his future last weekend following his links with United and insisted that he had no plans to leave the Dutch club before the season finishes.

‘I live in the present, so I find it hard to answer this,’ he said in an interview with ESPN.

‘I always want to improve my team, and as long as I feel this motivation I want to keep going, if Ajax wants that too.’

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