Manchester United’s board are planning to appoint a British manager if they are forced to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the near future, according to new reports.
Leicester’s Brendan Rodgers is a top target for the United hierarchy if Solskjaer is axed.
After signing Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane in the summer transfer window, United were expected to contend for major honours once again this season.
But the Red Devils trail Premier League leaders Chelsea by nine points after just 11 matches and have crashed to emphatic defeats to Manchester City, Liverpool and Leicester in recent weeks.
United were outclassed by both City and Liverpool at Old Trafford and though they are likely to progress to the Champions League knockouts, they required Ronaldo-inspired comebacks for both of their Group F European victories over Villarreal and Atalanta.
Ronaldo’s late equaliser also spared United defeat away to Atalanta just two weeks after United needed to come from 2-0 down to beat the Italians 3-2.
Poor performances and results across all competitions have heaped pressure on Solskjaer and while the legendary former United striker retains support from his superiors, there are increasing calls for him to be sacked.
Solskjaer’s ex-United team-mate Rio Ferdinand is among those who have recently called for the Norwegian to move on, with it felt that he has reached his ceiling in the job.
He said this week: “I just feel it might be about the time now for the baton to be handed over to somebody else who can take us on now. And I think Ole would leave now with his head held high.”
And the Daily Star now report that if the Glazers are reluctantly forced to cut short Solskjaer’s project just weeks before his three-year anniversary as manager, a British boss will be pursued to replace him.
The report adds that United are increasingly confident they could lure former Liverpool manager Rodgers from Leicester, who won the FA Cup under the Northern Irishman last year.
Rodgers would be United’s first British manager since David Moyes, who lasted just 10 months at the helm after replacing the iconic Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer of 2013.
Dutchman Louis van Gaal and Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho then managed United before Solskjaer replaced the latter, initially as a caretaker boss, in December 2018.
Before Van Gaal replaced Moyes in the summer of 2014, Ireland’s Frank O’Farrell – who was in charge from June 1971 to December 1972 – was the only non-British boss to manage United.
But United are keen to make their next head coach homegrown as they look to build on the positive work Solskjaer has done if he is removed from his position.
Gary Neville, another former team-mate of Solskjaer’s, however believes he will get until the end of the season.
The Sky Sports pundit said: “The club aren’t going to do anything here. Getting Antonio Conte was never, ever going to happen. The hierarchy were never going to appoint him, as great a manager as he is.
“The plan all season has been to stick with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer until the end of the season, and that’s where I’m at, even after Saturday.
“They’ve got Watford away, Villarreal away and then Chelsea away. That’s a horrid, horrid week. This is not going to get any easier in the short term.
“Being that far behind the top with 11 games gone, that can’t happen. He’s progressed from sixth to third to second, and should have won the Europa League final against Villarreal.”