David Moyes is facing the sack as Manchester United manager in the next 24 hours, according to Sky sources.
The outgoing Premier League champions have refused to comment on the widespread reports on Monday afternoon, but Sky sources suggest Moyes will be gone by Tuesday at the latest.
Moyes has endured a difficult reign since taking charge of United last summer, but the club were expected to stand by the Scot, despite a lack of success in domestic and European competitions.
United’s board appear set to cut short Moyes’ six-year deal in the wake of the latest 2-0 defeat at former club Everton, which left United 13 points adrift of the Premier League top four.
Reaching the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League did briefly ease the pressure on Moyes, but they bowed out with a 4-2 aggregate defeat against Bayern Munich.
Sir Alex Ferguson had urged the club to give the next manager time when he stepped down in May after a glittering spell at Old Trafford, but owners, the Glazer family, seem to have lost patience.
Ferguson, who has watched many of United’s games from the stands, himself had a tough start to his 27-year spell in charge, but went on to win two UEFA Champions League trophies, 13 Premier League titles and five FA Cups.
United are expected to spend heavily in the summer and a successor would be entrusted with the transfer fund, which is reported to be around £150million.
Holland manager Louis van Gaal, who is leaving after the World Cup, Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp, and Paris St-Germain’s Laurent Blanc have been tipped as possible contenders to replace Moyes.
Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville says performances have been unacceptable under Moyes – but the club should give him more time.
“I genuinely believe that when you give a man a six-year contract that he deserves an opportunity and the time,” Neville said on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football.
“The reason we are sat [in a TV studio] is because we look at football management and think of it as being a world of madness, an absolute world of madness where the average manager gets sacked every 12 months.
“I’ve always felt that Manchester United should be different and hold itself up as a club that basically stands against what is happening in the game.
“We used to laugh at Italy 20 years ago and say it was ridiculous what’s happening there, but now we have almost become accustomed to it.
“I think fans are well within their rights, but I don’t like it when professional people – people inside the game – come out with statements that suggest a manager should be sacked.
“It’s not something you’ll ever hear from me because it’s a difficult job, something that I’ve never done.”
Neville says Moyes should have been guaranteed at least two years to make his mark on the team.
And he says that the departure of chief executive David Gill at the same time as Ferguson last summer has only made the job more difficult.
“There’s no doubt that this transition from the end of Sir Alex Ferguson has been tough, make no mistake about it,” Neville added.
“For 10 years, everyone feared at the club what would happen when Sir Alex Ferguson left and when David Gill left.
“If you think about it this year, David Gill was probably needed by David Moyes and Ed Woodward probably needed Sir Alex Ferguson to bed in. They have both had to get used to their new jobs together and it’s proven to be tough for them both.
“I would personally always think that managers should be given time over a couple of years to bed their own team in.”
Sky Sports pundit Tony Cottee suggested that Moyes had lost the backing of some members of his squad.
Speaking on Gillette Soccer Special, Cottee said: “The key question is has he got the support of the players?
“Looking at the performances, I would say no at the moment. Players are very powerful these days.”
Sky Bet have slashed the odds on Moyes’ departure to 1-10, naming Van Gaal as 4-1 favourite to succeed him, with Klopp at 5-1 and veteran winger Ryan Giggs at 6-1.