Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks set to take over Manchester United on an interim basis after the club dismissed Jose Mourinho following a dismal start to the season.
The Old Trafford club appeared to confirm the Norwegian’s appointment with a video on the club website referring to the striker as “our interim manager”.
The page was later deleted on Tuesday night.
Mourinho, the self-proclaimed Special One, arrived to much fanfare in the summer of 2016, and became the first manager in the club’s history to win a major trophy in his maiden season.
Europa League, EFL Cup and Community Shield successes were followed by runners-up finishes in the Premier League and FA Cup last term, but this campaign things have gone awry from the outset.
United have their worst points return after 17 matches in the Premier League era, with Sunday’s chastening 3-1 loss at Liverpool leaving them 19 points behind their bitter rivals.
They also face an eye-watering 11-point gap to the top four, leading the club to dismiss Mourinho at the end of a year that started with handing him a contract extension.
A senior figure at Molde refused to comment about Solskjaer’s potential move to United when contacted by Press Association Sport on Tuesday, but – perhaps tellingly – ended their message with a smiling emoji.
The club’s website, however, featured a news story from December 3 reporting the Baby-faced Assassin had agreed a three-year extension to his contract.
The 45-year-old is quoted on the club website saying: “As soon as we sat down and discussed the extension we agreed… I’m already looking forward to taking on the season preparations and the job of helping the boys and the club on the road to the top.”
Solskjaer had 11 years at United as a player, memorably scoring in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich to seal the treble in 1999, and spent a period as their reserve coach, working with the likes of Paul Pogba.
The 45-year-old left to join Molde and, after an ill-fated spell at the helm of Saturday’s opponents Cardiff during which the side won nine of 30 games, returned to the Norwegian club and finished second, qualifying for the second qualifying round of the Europa League.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s former assistant Mike Phelan is reportedly in the frame to work with Solskjaer after United called time on Mourinho’s reign on Tuesday morning and opted to move for a coach with links to the club.