Manchester United (MANU:US) said it won’t “engage in speculation” about the future of first-year coach David Moyes, who several U.K. newspapers said will be fired.
Defending champion United is seventh in England’s Premier League and has 11 defeats, its most in a season since the soccer championship began in 1992. Moyes, 50, replaced Alex Ferguson before this season, succeeding the team’s most successful coach -- who won 38 trophies in 26 years.
A loss at Everton two days ago ended United’s chances of qualifying for next season’s Champions League, Europe’s elite tournament that earned United 35.6 million euros ($49.1 million) in prize money last season. It will be the first time in 19 years United isn’t in the competition. It lost 4-2 over two games in this year’s quarterfinals to Bayern Munich.
“What the league table shows now is something that neither the club nor the fans deserve,” Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata said in his weekly blog on the club’s website. “To get as many points as possible and finish as high as we can on the table is, unfortunately, the only goal ahead for us.”
Manchester United Plc shares dropped almost 1 percent to $17.72 yesterday in New York, and are 3.9 percent lower than when Moyes was announced as Ferguson’s successor on May 8, 2013.
The Daily Mail reported yesterday that the Glazer family, which owns the club, has lost patience with Moyes and that the “final straw” was the 2-0 defeat against his former team, Everton. The Mail didn’t say where it got the information.
Several other U.K. newspapers, including the Daily Telegraph and the Guardian, also reported on their websites that United may dismiss Moyes. A Manchester United official said in an e-mail that, “contrary to rumors,” Moyes is still coach and the club won’t “engage in speculation” about him.
The Glazers held an initial public offering in August 2012, raising $233 million by selling 10 percent of the 136-year-old club at $14 per share.
The Daily Mail reported that United would ask winger Ryan Giggs to take over on an interim basis if Moyes is ousted before the end of the season. The team has four of its 38 Premier League games left.
Possible long-term replacements for Moyes include Borussia Dortmund’s Juergen Klopp, Netherlands national team coach Louis van Gaal and Carlo Ancelotti of Real Madrid, according to the Mail.
Moyes failed to revive United even after the club signed Chelsea playmaker Mata for a club record 37.1 million pounds ($62.3 million) during the midseason trading window and extended the contract of striker Wayne Rooney until 2019.
Ed Woodward, United’s vice chairman, said in a February conference call with analysts that the team may be more active than normal in the offseason transfer market.
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