Manchester United: Can Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lead them to a Premier League title? 


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is in line for a bumper new deal at Manchester United – the clearest sign yet the hierarchy believe he is the man who will bring them success.

Sportsmail understands Solskjaer will continue talks for a new deal worth in the region of £7million per year.  

Solskjaer is yet to reach a major final as United boss and has fallen in four semi-finals already. They are still active in the Europa League this season but domestically find themselves out of contention, 14 points behind rivals Man City. 

With that in mind, Sportsmail’s IAN LADYMAN and CHRIS SUTTON argue both sides on whether Solskjaer really has what it takes to bring the league title back to Old Trafford. 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's new deal suggests Man United feel he can deliver them a league title

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s new deal suggests Man United feel he can deliver them a league title

Manchester City are 14 points clear and are under no real pressure to win the league title

Manchester City are 14 points clear and are under no real pressure to win the league title 

YES

Chris Sutton 

Solskjaer isn’t seen as a Pep Guardiola or Jurgen Klopp. Instead, for whatever reason, he’s looked upon as more of a PE teacher. And that’s wrong.

This is a manager whose understanding of tactics is underestimated. There is no doubt that Manchester United have improved under Solskjaer.

Both the players and the club have benefited from him being there. Luke Shaw looked done under Jose Mourinho, as an example, but now he’s in the England squad. That is largely down to Solskjaer, who has also secured some very big wins.

It was United who ended Manchester City’s 28-game unbeaten run earlier this month, remember. They went to AC Milan, navigated a tricky second leg and have an inviting Europa League quarter-final to follow.

Solskjaer's (left) reputation is totally different to someone such as Pep Guardiola (right)

Solskjaer’s (left) reputation is totally different to someone such as Pep Guardiola (right) 

Players have benefitted under Solskjaer and they continue to improve under his stewardship

Players have benefitted under Solskjaer and they continue to improve under his stewardship

Solskjaer took United to third in the Premier League in his first full season. Now they’re second to a very special City side.

With this contract extension, the question now is: can United go on to win the title under Solskjaer? Yes, I’d say they can, but only if the club continues to back its manager and gets him an Erling Haaland.

That is what they have been missing — a player who brings the wow factor in front of goal.

Bruno Fernandes creates the chances but they could do with someone like Dortmund forward Haaland to finish them.  Edinson Cavani is an excellent, experienced striker but his fitness has been unreliable.

I would like to see United back Solskjaer in the market. Imagine the shockwaves it would send if they beat their rivals City to Haaland’s signature!

It also wouldn’t hurt Solskjaer’s chances of convincing everyone he is the right man for the job if he wins the Europa League.

Get your hands on a trophy and continue your league progress.

Bruno Fernandes is a brilliant creator of chances but United need a clinical striker to finish

Bruno Fernandes is a brilliant creator of chances but United need a clinical striker to finish

United would send shockwaves through their rivals if they were able to poach Erling Haaland

United would send shockwaves through their rivals if they were able to poach Erling Haaland

NO

Ian Ladyman

As they look to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic and move forwards, Manchester United have just wrapped themselves in a safety blanket.

That’s what this new contract for Solskjaer feels like. It feels safe. Safe if unambitious.

Solskjaer has not done a bad job at all at Old Trafford. The first team was a mess when he took over from Jose Mourinho.

A great institution already wobbling a little — after the unsuccessful tenures of David Moyes and Louis van Gaal — was on its way to becoming almost irrelevant, on the field at least.

The Norwegian has arrested that. He has made United credible again.

He has instilled his own way of playing. It may not always be convincing but it is at least recognisable. United are second in the Premier League. Young players, such as Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford, have improved under Solskjaer.

Retaining Solskjaer for two more years feels a safe, if unambitious, decision by United's board

Retaining Solskjaer for two more years feels a safe, if unambitious, decision by United’s board

The flipside is that United are a very distant second to Manchester City. What they desperately need soon is somebody to close that gap and it is hard to believe Solskjaer is the man.

The 48–year-old feels like a coach for the top four while what United need is someone to win them a league title again. It has been eight years already. A decade will come and go before we see the Premier League trophy back at Old Trafford, I am sure of that.

Solskjaer is not an inspirational manager nor a particularly clever coach. He is tougher than he looks and sometimes sounds but he is some way from becoming an elite coach. I don’t think he will ever make that step.

Manchester United is a club designed to win titles. Second should never be enough.

Solskjaer is a man for the small steps while United need to take big ones.

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