Manchester United could be left with having to pay out millions in compensation fees after it emerged the club reportedly handed new contracts to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s backroom team three weeks ago. The Norwegian was sacked on Saturday night after a dismal run of five defeats in seven Premier League games following the 4-1 humbling at the hands of Watford.
Solskjaer himself only penned a new contract that was scheduled to run until 2024 in June and it is believed the former Man United boss is due for a lucrative pay-off following his sacking.
But the club may be forced to fork out more compensation should they decide to show the door to Solskjaer’s backroom staff too, with four members penning deals.
Assistant Mike Phelan, who worked at the club under Sir Alex Ferguson between 2008 and 2013, signed a new deal last month to 2024 along with Solskjaer.
But according to the Daily Mail, it is believed other members also followed suit in committing themselves to a new deal.
Michael Carrick, who has been appointed caretaker boss and took the press conference for United’s Champions League fixture against Villarreal, was among those to sign a new deal.
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First-team coach Kieran McKenna and goalkeeper coach Richard Hartis also prolonged their stay at Old Trafford by extending their contracts.
It means that United could be facing a huge bill if they are to bring in their top managerial target Mauricio Pochettino, currently in charge of Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain.
The club have recently learned it would take around £10million to release the former Tottenham boss from his contract with PSG, with talks reportedly underway for him to replace Solskjaer.
The Argentinian has always brought his loyal coaching members with him wherever he has worked, including his right-hand man Jesus Perez and goalkeeping coach Toni Jimenez.
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Given that United would have to fork out compensation fees to release them from their contracts at PSG should they agree a package for Pochettino, the Red Devils are facing an exorbitant bill.
It is unclear whether it was executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward or managing director Richard Arnold whom authorised the negotiations with Solskjaer’s staff.
But it once again brings into question the decisions behind the scenes from those in the United hierarchy, despite the intense pressure Solskjaer has been under for several weeks.
The 48-year-old’s position was thought to be under threat when his side were thrashed 5-0 by Liverpool at Old Trafford, their worst defeat since 1925.
Then the 2-0 derby defeat to Manchester City piled on the pressure for Solskjaer but he still survived the two-week long international break that followed.
It was only when United’s woeful performance away at Watford underlined the seriousness that they could miss out on the top four this season that his position became untenable.
Solskjaer had retained the support of the board until recently but speculation persists that the players were left confused and unhappy with coaching methods.
With that in mind, it appears likely that whoever they appoint on a full-time basis will insist on a clean break and bringing in their own staff, forcing the club to agree mutual terminations with the current team.
United chiefs are still searching for an interim manager to take charge for the rest of the season before a permanent appointment is made.
Laurent Blanc, the former United player between 1999 and 2001, has been tipped to take over but the Frenchman is currently in charge of Qatari outfit Al-Rayyan.
Even if United were to appoint the 56-year-old as a temporary successor to Solskjaer, it would still require a fee to release him from his contract.
And as United prepare to attempt to rescue their season with a new manager at the helm, the United board will be left counting the cost of their mistakes.
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