MANCHESTER UNITED manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer might not be the best manager in the world, but he is certainly one of the cleverest.
The Norwegian’s contract at United expires in June 2022 and Solskjaer recently revealed that talks have not begun on extending his deal.
Solskjaer seemed calm about not been offered a new deal yet but cleverly in an interview a few days later revealed when asked about Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland, the former Cardiff manager said the following.
“I keep in touch. He is a Dortmund player. Let's see what life brings later on.”
There will be a host of clubs queuing up to capture the signature of Haaland should the 20-year-old decide to leave Dortmund but by saying what he did, Solskjaer is indicating that he would have an advantage over other managers in signing the striker.
Solskjaer is saying that he has a personal relationship with Haaland.
All the top clubs in the world will be interested in Haaland and it might come down to which manager the striker is impressed by the most where he will end up.
Considering Solskjaer has a personal relationship with Haaland, you would imagine he knows exactly what the player would want to hear.
As a player, I would much rather sign for someone I’ve known for years and that I trust, rather than sign for a manager who I don’t know.
Solskjaer has done ok since becoming United manager. He has brought back an identity to the club and United seem to have a plan going forward. They play quick counter-attacking football, unlike previous managers.
Solskjaer is keen on promoting young players from the academy and more importantly recruiting young hungry players and developing them rather than signing players that are happy just to collect their wage.
However, for all the good work Solskjaer is doing at United, he still has downfalls. United have failed to beat any of the so-called top six this season and failed in their fourth semi-final in a row under Solskjaer when losing to neighbours Manchester City in the Carabao Cup in January.
When Solskjaer does eventually talk to the board about extending his contract, he must convince them that there is no one better than him to be United manager. I don’t think that he has developed young players is a unique selling point and he can’t back up, for now, that he is a manager that can win trophies.
Solskjaer must sell that with him in charge, United have a better chance of signing the Dortmund striker than if he wasn’t at the club.
In the modern market, Haaland could cost anything up to €200m. The 20-year-old contract runs to June 2024 but has a release clause of €75m for the summer of 2022. There are only a handful of clubs that could afford Haaland before his release clause becomes active. Should clubs wait to bid for the Norwegian until 2022, then Solskjaer’s relationship with the player will be an advantage.
It’s no secret that United need a centre-forward and there isn’t a better one out there now than Haaland. The striker has scored 17 goals in 18 league appearances for an average Dortmund side and is a player capable of bringing any club to the next level that are willing to do so.
There’s no doubt, United want to get back to the glory days and can invest the finances to do so.
Unlike other managers who have taken a club as far as it can go, more than often than not, the only way is down for that club when he leaves. Solskjaer is the opposite. Second in the league, having good cup runs, is as good as it gets for United under Solskjaer.
Even if he persuades Haaland to sign, they still won’t win the league with Solskjaer in charge.
Solskjaer always seems to get a result when he needs it to save his job and with his contract due to expire next year, he is using Haaland to save his job again. The United board have been patient but if they have the ambition of winning the league, which they have, they cannot be fooled by Solskjaer’s words.