Manchester United have known for four months that Pep Guardiola has a gentleman's agreement in place with Manchester City, and won't be taking over at Old Trafford.
Reports last week suggested that Red Devils chief Ed Woodward had met with Guardiola in Paris to discuss taking over from Louis van Gaal in the summer.
The former Barcelona boss has confirmed he will leave Bayern Munich in the summer and is heading for the Premier League, which has prompted a scramble amongst England's elite for his services.
It looks as though Old Trafford won't be his destination, however, with the Mirror saying that the Red Devils have known about his intention to join Manchester City where he will replace Manuel Pellegrini for months. They say that Woodward was told in September that it would be a waste of time to make an approach, which is why the club so vehemently denied the meeting in Paris this week.
The club now face a problem with what to do with Van Gaal. The Dutch boss is under increasing pressure following the 1-0 defeat at home against Southampton yesterday, and he could even be let go before the season is up.
Jose Mourinho is said to be keen on taking the job at Manchester United and could be installed straight away following his dismissal from Chelsea, but any late move to sway Guardiola would mean they'd have to wait until the summer.
The presence of two former Barcelona officials, Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano, at Manchester City are believed to be behind Guardiola's decision to join Manchester United's biggest rivals, although his camp have been keen to insist publicly that no decision has been made.
Manchester United's reluctance to bring in Mourinho is in part down to their desire to give Van Gaal a chance, while there is also reportedly more than a few concerns amongst the powers that be about the Special One's inability to stay at one club for more than a few years.
Who is the best manager out there to take over from Louis van Gaal?
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