The Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era is over at Man Utd, and now attention turns to who will be the next manager at the biggest soccer club in the world.
Solskjaer’s three-year reign at the controls in Manchester ended Sunday when the club announced it was moving on from the Norwegian. The news came less than 24 hours after a humiliating 4-1 Premier League loss at Watford on Saturday.
That humbling at Vicarage Road came on the back of a pair of embarrassing home losses to bitter rivals in recent weeks -5-0 by Liverpool and 2-0 at the hands of Manchester City. United currently sits seventh in the standings on 17 points – some 12 points behind leader Chelsea.
Clearly that sort of return on the club’s huge investment in playing talent was not good enough – it is now eight years since the Premier League title resided at Old Trafford, when Sir Alex Ferguson was manager.
In the summer United again backed Solskjaer big-time in the transfer market – signing Borussia Dortmund forward Jadon Sancho and Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane as well as bringing Cristiano Ronaldo back to his spiritual home.
The outlay didn’t bring the desired results though, and United had looked shambolic in recent weeks, with rumors of dissent in the locker room.
The club announced Sunday that it was bringing matters to a head, saying: “Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has left his role as manager. Ole will always be a legend at Manchester United and it is with regret that we have reached this difficult decision. While the past few weeks have been disappointing, they should not obscure all the work he has done over the past three years to rebuild the foundations for long-term success.
“Ole leaves with our sincerest thanks for his tireless efforts as Manager and our very best wishes for the future. His place in the club’s history will always be secure, not just for his story as a player, but as a great man and a Manager who gave us many great moments. He will forever be welcome back at Old Trafford as part of the Manchester United family.
“Michael Carrick will now take charge of the team for forthcoming games, while the club looks to appoint an interim manager to the end of the season.”
The news that Carrick will take charge of the team for its upcoming games should interest bettors – given he is part of the Solskjaer coaching team which got very little out of its expensive squad. The flip side is that a team in trouble often gets a short-term bounce at least when a coaching change is made.
Now of course attention turns to who will be next to try and bring the glory days back at Old Trafford:
Next Manchester United manager
The leading candidates right now come down likely to two hot favorites after United missed the chance to grab Italian Antonio Conte recently (he took the job at Tottenham remember):
Zinedine Zidane: Won multiple Champions League titles and La Liga with Real Madrid in Spain, having been a legendary player for Juventus, Madrid and France before that. Definitely has the reputation to command respect in the United locker room, and also has close relationships with former Real duo Varane and Ronaldo. The two sticking points could be his grasp of English and whether his wife would accept the move to Manchester. Reports on the latter suggest maybe not.
Brendan Rodgers: The Northern Irishman has done a pretty good job at Leicester, after impressing at Swansea, Liverpool and Celtic in the past. United would have to pay for this one given he is still coaching the Foxes and under contract until 2025. So the compensation package for the Red Devils would be significant.
Manchester United next games
Things do not get any easier for United in the coming days. Carrick starts his reign with a crucial Champions League trip to Villarreal on Tuesday (November 23), followed by a tough trip to Premier League leader Chelsea next Sunday (November 28). Then United opens December at home to Arsenal.