Manchester United have made their first approach to Antonio Conte with the Italian expressing a desire to take over the reins at Old Trafford, according to reports.
The Red Devils continued their poor form this season with a disastrous 5-0 defeat at home to Liverpool on Sunday, with the pressure now ramping up on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
While United’s hierarchy have strongly backed the Norwegian, handing him a new contract over the summer, recent performances have prompted the club’s board to assess their options.
Solskjaer is still expected to be in charge for the next three games – against Tottenham, Atalanta and Manchester City – but the looming international break brings with it an opportune moment to potentially replace the manager if results do not improve.
United have drawn up a shortlist of four names as they consider axing Solskjaer, with Brendan Rodgers, Zinedine Zidane and Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag all on their list.
But it is former Chelsea and Inter boss Conte who is their number one target and Sky Sport Italia’s Gianluca Di Marzio claims intermediaries from United have already reached out to the Italian.
Although the 52-year-old was believed to have a few reservations about potentially taking over at Old Trafford, he has now made it clear to United he wants the job and is ready to replace Solskjaer.
Conte is normally not keen on taking over a team during a campaign, rejecting mid-season advances in the past, but he believes he can do well with United’s current team immediately and is eager to turn their fortunes around.
While Conte may have given his OK to United, the club are not expected to rush into a decision over Solskjaer’s future and he is set to remain in charge against Tottenham on Saturday.
But a poor result in that match, or in subsequent games against Atalanta and Manchester City, is likely to see United’s board pull the trigger and bring in Conte.
That would give the Italian tactician two uninterrupted weeks to work with any United players who are not on international duty before taking on Watford on November 20.
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