Just a few hours prior to Manchester United’s return to the UEFA Champions League after a season’s absence, their former boss and once a player, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer spoke out against the management of the club.
Solksjaer who managed United from 2018 to 2021, revealed that the club eventually missed out on signing a few big names during his time in spite of securing the services of Cristiano Ronaldo back to Old Trafford.
The Norwegian manager admitted that his ability to compete effectively was seriously hampered by the club’s inability to sign a number of top-tier players.
When asked to name the players he would have liked to bring to Old Trafford, Solskjaer named three prominent players. Erling Haaland was the first player in whom he showed interest, even before the Norwegian striker made his Red Bull Salzburg debut.
🔴👀 Solskjær reveals some players close to joining Man United…
🇳🇴 “Erling Haaland, before he made his Salzburg debut”.
🏴 “Declan Rice, who wouldn’t have cost what he did in the summer”.
🇪🇨 “We discussed Moises Caicedo but we felt we needed players ready”, told The Athletic. pic.twitter.com/qvYKah4VIT
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) September 20, 2023
Second, he pointed out Declan Rice as a target that could have been acquired for a lower sum than what Arsenal ultimately paid. Arsenal spent a staggering $130 million on Rice’s transfer from West Ham United this season.
However, he added that the team needed players who could have an immediate impact and that they were not willing to wait for newcomers to adjust to the Premier League. Solskjaer also brought up discussions about Moises Caicedo. He highlighted the difference between that and clubs like Brighton, renowned for allowing foreign players time to acclimatize to English conditions.
Former Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer defends Under-Fire Harry Maguire
Former Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has come out in strong support of under-fire defender Harry Maguire.
During Solskjaer’s tenure as manager of the club, Manchester United acquired the services of Harry Maguire from Leicester City in 2019. They transferred him for $100 million, making Maguire the most expensive defender in soccer history. Solskjaer handed over the captain’s armband to Maguire only five months after the player joined the team due to his demonstrated leadership abilities.
🚨🗣️ Solskjær: “Harry Maguire – it’s a disgrace that he’s getting so much abuse. I feel sorry for him, but he’s a strong lad and I hope it turns for him. He raised our defence big time when he arrived and lifted the mood around the place.” #MUFC [@AndyMitten] pic.twitter.com/qL8JUnOK3t
— mufcmpb (@mufcMPB) September 20, 2023
It goes without saying that Maguire has had a difficult time in recent seasons despite the high expectations that came with his high price tag and the captain’s role. His performance has been inconsistent, drawing criticism from both fans and experts. Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, and Victor Lindelof moved ahead of Maguire in the defensive pecking order after Maguire lost his captaincy over the summer with the hiring of new manager Erik ten Hag.
“He raised our defence big time when he arrived and lifted the mood around the place,” Solksjaer stated.
However Solksjaer described the abuse directed at Maguire as a “disgrace” and expressed his sympathy for the player. Solskjaer further highlighted Maguire’s resiliency and character strength, believing that he can overcome the difficulties he is currently experiencing.