Solskjaer 'has one game to save job' as Man United eye Conte as replacement

Solskjaer 'has one game to save job' as Man United eye Conte as replacement

OLE Gunnar Solskjaer is on the brink at Old Trafford following Manchester United's humiliating 5-0 home defeat to Liverpool on Sunday.

The result - United's joint-worst in Premier League history - served as a harsh reminder that Solskjaer simply isn't cut from the same cloth as other 'top' managers in the division, notably Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel - all at the helm of United's supposed title rivals.

Solskjaer's side were dismantled tactically and appear, more than ever, like a team of individuals rather than a cohesive, collective machine.

Gone are the days where eleven superstars could simply rely on ability to outclass a less talented but well-oiled outfit, and while Solskjaer may have lasted longer than most would have predicted, Sunday's result confirmed what we all knew from the start - he isn't the answer.

Reports indicate that the Norwegian will remain in charge for United's next match against Tottenham, but the Sword of Damocles is now hanging over him, and should he bested again, it'll almost certainly be Ole Goner Solskjaer (see what I did there?).

Former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is the most likely replacement, and the most logical choice.

Fresh off the back of ending Juventus' decade-long stranglehold on the Serie A title with Inter Milan - a stranglehold he actually initiated back in 2011 - Conte is the hottest managerial free-agent in football.

The trophy-haul of Zinedine Zidane or the tactical nous of Erik Ten Haag may appeal to some, but Conte represents the closest thing United are likely ever to find to a 'success-coupon'.

Antonio Conte, Chelsea

As such, Conte will demand complete autonomy over the team - something that'll likely be hard to come by at United - but if the powers that be are serious about re-establishing the 13-time Premier League champions as one of Europe's most fearsome sides again, they'll give the Italian what he wants.

Conte doesn't tend to stay long - two years at Inter, Chelsea and Italy and three years at Juve suggest he'll never be a 'project' manager - but United's squad is more than strong enough for the 52-year-old to come and make an instant impact.

He also has a well-documented history of falling out with his bosses. Transfer disagreements and budget issues saw his spells at Chelsea and Inter end abruptly and painfully, but even if United find themselves picking up the pieces after a messy - and likely expensive - divorce in two-and-a-half years time, the prospect of a trophy, and the even likelier prospect of significant improvement in that time, will make it all worth it.

Former United defender and Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville says the club should steer clear of the Italian though, on the surprisingly basic basis that managers who arrive at Old Trafford with small reputations tend to fare better than their more famous counterparts.

Jose Mourinho and Louis Van Gaal may have 'flopped' at Old Trafford, but in hindsight both managers were well past their peak. And let's not forget, David Moyes failed miserable, Solskjaer looks set to fail miserably. I have the score at 2-2 post-Fergie, Gary.

The fact is, no manager has managed to live up to the standards set by Sir Alex Ferguson, for a variety of different reasons, but for the first time since the legendary Scot left, United have the chance to hire an absolutely top manager at the peak of his powers, and they'd be fools to pass that opportunity up.

Conte has revolutionised three major clubs, winning league titles as the underdog with all of them in two years or less. That's simply impossible to ignore. And with him United could, after eight long years, finally join in with the big boys again.