If Manchester United don’t win silver next season, it should be the curtain for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
It’s been two and a half years since he replaced Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford and the time for excuses is over.
Solskjaer has received a new Man United deal despite not winning a trophy as a manager
Solskjaer, who was rewarded with a new three-year contract on Saturday, was strongly supported in almost every window in which he was in charge of the club.
United now have the highest net spending of any club in the Premier League since their arrival and have the most expensive defender (Harry Maguire), midfielder (Paul Pogba) and winger (Jadon Sancho) in English football history.
According to Transfermarkt, sancho’s signing means the Red Devils have spent £616.21 million on players since the 2017/18 season.
Sancho is finally a Manchester United player, with the English winger bringing a huge new offensive presence to Solskjaer’s attack
With just £158.61m arriving for players in the same period, they have a huge net spend of -£457.60m.
With the signing of Sancho and a contract to put Raphael Varane on the horizon, no cutlery this season would mean a massive failure for the Norwegian.
Yes, the Red Devils were on the verge of winning the Europa League and finished second last season – but their squad had more than enough to offer in the Champions League last season.
The defeat against Villarreal and four defeats in the semi-finals have rightly cast doubt on Solskjaer’s leadership qualities.
Varane is likely to leave Real Madrid this summer and Old Trafford is expected to be his destination
And Arsenal legend Martin Keown admitted that he was stunned by reports that he would get a new deal ahead of the announcement.
“We’re used to seeing Manchester United win,” Keown told talkSPORT. “It’s almost a rebirth of Manchester United, but how long do we have to wait?
“Yes, consistency and second place in the Premier League will probably give him a new deal, but when it comes down to it, you have to win that way.”
Asked if Solskjaer deserves a new deal, Keown replied: “If we look at the previous standards, then no.
“But to follow in the footsteps of Sir Alex Ferguson, no one could recreate that.
Maguire is one of many new additions to United’s ranks
“They had a number of managers at the club, but they weren’t really trusted and they had a working relationship. [with the club] and that’s what I feel about Ole.
“I have the feeling that if you look at it, he’s lucky that he’s really still there. He knows the standards that are set, and he cannot suffer disappointment again and again, semi-final after semi-final, all the way to the final.
“I think he’s lucky, but today is Manchester United.”
Another Arsenal legend, Ray Parlor, suggested dying or dying for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United in the 2021/22 season.
“He’s under pressure … but he knows that,” Parlour told talkSPORT last week.
Solskjaer needs a big summer and the board may give him a
“He is a realistic man and has been in great dressing rooms which have been very successful under Sir Alex Ferguson.
“He knows exactly what Manchester United is all about, he knows the expectations around the world – the support they have is incredible, probably the best in the world in the Premier League.
“Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs all the help he can get, and he gets good players where he has a good chance of winning trophies.
“But if he doesn’t win trophies and they have a bad season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will certainly be the first to admit that it didn’t work and will continue.”
United now have a truly star-studded eleven and also have incredible strength in depth.
The most expensive players in English football history
1. Paul Pogba (Juventus to Manchester United in 2016) – £89 million
2. Virgil van Dijk (Southampton to Liverpool in 2018) – £75 million
3. Romelu Lukaku (Everton to Manchester United in 2017) – £75 million
4. Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United in 2021) – £73 million
6. Nicolas Pepe (Lille to Arsenal in 2019) – £72 million
7. Kepa Arrizabalaga (Athletic Bilbao to Chelsea in 2018) – £71 million
8. Kai Havertz (Bayer Leverkusen to Chelsea in 2020) – £71 million
9. Alisson Becker (from Rome to Liverpool in 2018) – £67 million
10. Rodri (Atletico Madrid to Manchester City in 2019) – £64 million
They have two brilliant goalkeepers in Dean Henderson and David de Gea.
Luke Shaw is in the form of his career and has a more than capable support in Alex Telles.
However, if Varane joins Maguire in defence, they could say they have the best centre-back pairing in the first division.
They also have class in abundance in midfield, with Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and Donny van de Beek – and rumour has it that they could even switch to Declan Rice.
They have one of the game’s most accomplished finishers, led by Edinson Cavani, and three extremely talented wingers in Marcus Rashford, Sancho and Greenwood, with Daniel James in reserve.
With quality all over the pitch, the time of excuses is over.
Manchester United need to deliver this season – or Solskjaer should take the axe.
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