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 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 his 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 have pledged to "bring fans closer to the club".