Manchester United have three options open to them if they take the plunge and sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, according to reports.
Solskjaer has been under mounting pressure in recent weeks due to poor results and the United hierarchy are reportedly growing restless with the Norwegian and are beginning to seriously consider a change of manager.
United’s form has been massively inconsistent this season and recent heavy defeats have raised further questions over Solskjaer’s leadership.
The team have won just three of their last 10 matches in all competitions and the 5-0 defeat by Liverpool and 2-0 loss against Manchester City highlighted hugely worrying signs.
United are sixth in the Premier League, already nine points behind leaders Chelsea, ahead of this weekend’s must-win game against Watford.
The club have appeared reluctant to sack Solskjaer, who is approaching three years in the job, but a report by The Daily Record suggests things have shifted in the boardroom recently.
United have reportedly made progress in their attempts to win over Zinedine Zidane, who is now ‘attracted to the opportunity’ of taking over at Old Trafford.
Zidane is a free agent, having left Real Madrid in the summer, and is keen to work with his former players Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as Paul Pogba, who he repeatedly tried to sign for the Spanish giants.
The 49-year-old won three Champions League titles with Real Madrid and is seen as a less abrasive manager than Antonio Conte, who the club held talks with before he joined Tottenham.
Zidane’s limited English and his wife’s reservations about moving to Manchester could scupper any deal, but the wheels have at least been set into motion.
The Frenchman is not the only option for the Glazers and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who are also ‘assessing the candidacies’ of Brendan Rodgers and Mauricio Pochettino.
Both are said to be ‘interested’ in taking charge at Old Trafford, but United would have to pay substantial compensation to Leicester City and Paris Saint-Germain to hire them mid-season.
Solskjaer signed a new contract with United in August, yet this deal is understood to include an unchanged single-season compensation payment should the Glazers pull the trigger.
Discontent with Solskjaer stems from results on the pitch, but also the feeling amongst the players, who are said to think a change of manager is ‘essential’ to turning things around.
The Norwegian has not impressed key players who have concerns about his training methods, tactics and in-game management.
United face Watford in the Premier League on Saturday before a Champions League tie against Villarreal and daunting fixtures against Chelsea and Arsenal.
Solskjaer will be without Pogba, who picked up a hamstring injury on international duty, while Marcus Rashford was forced to withdraw from the England squad due to a lack of fitness.