Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made such a strong impression during his short time in charge at Manchester United that he has leapfrogged Mauricio Pochettino in the hunt for the permanent position, according to reports.
The Norwegian was swiftly parachuted in as caretaker manager following Jose Mourinho’s sacking in December and could hardly have asked for a better start as United won the first five games of his reign. However, Sunday’s clash at Tottenham was supposed to represent the club’s first meaningful test since he took charge. But a 1-0 win at Wembley – thanks in no short part to a magnificent display from goalkeeper David De Gea – ensured his 100% record remains intact.
The victory prompted United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to pay Solskjaer a visit of congratulations in the Wembley dressing rooms after the match. And according to The Sun, it seems such has been the Norwegian’s impact at Old Trafford, that the club has placed him at No 1 on their shortlist to succeed Mourinho permanently.
United reportedly paid Molde around £1.8m to take Solskjaer on loan as their caretaker manager until the end of the season. And it’s claimed the two clubs struck a pre-agreement stating United would then pay them an additional £7.2m should United chiefs decide to keep beyond the end of the current campaign.
And it’s not just United’s board that Solskjaer has impressed; a report last week claimed a number of United’s stars – including Luke Shaw – have all told the club’s top brass they want him to remain in charge on a long-term basis.
As well as Pochettino, United were thought to have placed Zinedine Zidane on their list of possible next bosses, while reports on Sunday claimed Gareth Southgate and Diego Simeone were also under consideration.
But given the reported £50million required to buy Pochettino out of his contract at Tottenham – together with the impact the Norwegian has had at Old Trafford – it seems Solskjaer’s stay at Old Trafford could become a permanent one at the end of the season, with talk of a three-year deal in the pipeline.
That news would also be welcomed by club legend Ryan Giggs, who believes Solskjaer has made a huge impression during his short spell in charge and has given United fresh hope of claiming a top-four finish.
“Well, you’ve seen in a short space of time what’s happened with Liverpool and (Manchester) City,” Wales manager Giggs, who has also named the three players to have most benefited from the Norwegian’s arrival, told MUTV.
“That can happen [catch the top four], and the good thing is there are a lot of games to go.
“But still you can’t get ahead of yourself.
“It’s a tough league you’ve seen it wasn’t easy at times, but you can see what happens in football.”
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