Friday 29th July 2011 marked exactly fifteen years to the day that Manchester United signed a fresh faced Norwegian striker named Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for the bargain price of just £1.5m from Molde.
The transfer turned out to be arguably one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s greatest pieces of business in his time at Manchester United, as Solskjaer went on to make 366 appearances for the club and scoring an equally impressive 126 goals.
Now his playing career is over could he be about to emulate his achievements as a manager? Having signed a four-year deal with previous club Molde in November 2010 he is once again in familiar surroundings, sat top of the Norwegian league.
Under Solskjaer Molde have played sixteen matches, winning ten, drawing two, and have lost just four and have a three point advantage over rivals Tromso at the top of the table. Not surprisingly they also have the most potent attack with 33 league goals so far.
He is perhaps most fondly remembered as a player for the decisive second goal in the Nou Camp during the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich. It was the goal that delivered Ferguson’s first European triumph in his time at Old Trafford and completed a famous treble.
Though his illustrious playing career was cut short when in 2007 he was forced to retire due to persistent knee injuries, he stayed with United and began his coaching career with the clubs Reserve team. It was here that he developed his managerial skills and showed great promise as a coach.
Having decided to return to his native Norway Solskjaer sees Molde as the perfect club to start his managerial career, believing it was important his children grew up in Norway and it was a club he knew well having played there in the past.
Since he took charge the ‘Baby face Assassin’ has implemented a number changes and brought what he learnt from his time at United with him. The players respect him, as this is a man who has won 13 major trophies as well as representing his country on 67 separate occasions.
He has a winners attitude and this will be something he’ll aim to install amongst his players, with the experience he has they can only learn and develop under his guidance. Sir Alex Ferguson once described him as a model professional and his attitude was exemplary, certainly high praise from one of the greatest football managers of his generation.
Many have even suggested he could be a future Manchester United manager, a job that he would relish as he describes United as his ‘home’. To this day he remains a legend to the United faithful, with his name immortalised in song and banners inside Old Trafford he will be forever remembered by all United fans.
Although his managerial career is only a handful of games old it is clear that Solskjaer certainly has a talent for it, he only understands success and failure is sure not an option.
It is obviously far too early to suggest that he will reach the heights of his playing career but it is not beyond the realms of possibility that one day he will return to Old Trafford and add another chapter to his already extraordinary career.
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