Everton have announced that manager David Moyes will leave the club at the end of the season with a view to joining Manchester United.
A statement released by the Merseyside club this afternoon confirmed Moyes had told chairman Bill Kenwright of his desire to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson at United when he retires at the end of this season, and that he would not be extending his contract with the Goodison Park club.
The statement continued: "The chairman, on behalf of the club, would like to place on record his thanks to David for the massive contribution he has made to Everton since his arrival in March 2002.
"He has been an outstanding manager."
The statement then paid tribute to Moyes, who will remain in post for the rest of the season, before confirming the search for a successor would start now.
"During his tenure at Goodison Park, David has taken charge of the team on over 500 occasions including four European campaigns.
"His final two games as Everton manager will be the remaining Premier League matches against West Ham United and Chelsea.
"Everton officials will start the search for a replacement manager immediately."
It is anticipated United will confirm Moyes' arrival very quickly, although one club operative was too quick as the Premier League champions have already had to embarrassingly take down confirmation of Moyes' arrival as manager from their own Facebook page.
The club jumped the gun and put the information on their site, posting the message "send your personal welcome to our new manager David Moyes" to a following in excess of 33 million worldwide, before hastily taking it down.
Although the incident is amusing rather than damaging, it is unlikely to go down well with senior United executives, who are pledged to "bring fans closer to the club".
It is the second social media issue at United today given Wayne Rooney has also removed the mention to him being a Manchester United player from his Twitter feed, although it is believed that happened before news of his transfer request became public knowledge.
Earlier, Ferguson was back out on the training pitch having avoided the crowd of TV crews and photographers waiting for him by taking an alternative route to Carrington this morning.
Preparing for Sunday's Premier League encounter with Swansea must be an odd experience, even for someone as single-minded as the Scot, for his 1499th game as United boss will also be his last at Old Trafford.
He has watched the ground develop of into one of the finest in the world since his arrival in 1986, when the Stretford End was still mostly terrace and all four sides of the stadium had some form of standing.
Ferguson has already decided he will not speak publicly ahead of the game, preferring instead to address supporters ahead of the trophy presentation after the final whistle.
Yet the build-up to such a significant occasion is being overshadowed by the imminent appointment of Moyes.
And news that Wayne Rooney has asked to leave underlines just how all-consuming the United job is, especially as Moyes must decide whether to try and talk the 27-year-old round or opt to sell England's biggest star for a second time.
But for from being too difficult to contemplate, United chief executive David Gill believes the job represents an opportunity of a lifetime.
"It is a dream job," he told MUTV.
"We knew this day would come. We have been preparing for it.
"The new manager will inherit a great squad and infrastructure off the pitch, with a great staff.
"He will be walking into a difficult situation in terms of the number of trophies, but the positive of also having the support of the Manchester United family."