• Anna Dugdale


Rumours have been flying around that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is on the verge of being rewarded a new contract at Manchester United, worth £9 million a year. Since taking over Manchester United from Jose Mourinho, a major change has been undertaken at the club.

Attitudes seem to have changed towards transfers. For years after Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill departed the club, United were bullied in the transfer market. A lot of clubs knew they could ask for way over the odds for their players as United would pay extortionate money. This seems to have changed under Solskjaer’s tenure. This was seen in the summer when United refused to pay Borussia Dortmund their asking price for Jadon Sancho. The refusal meant that United missed out on the signing of Sancho but it also made a statement that they would no longer be made a laughing stock in the transfer windows.

Furthermore, the structure at the club has also been improved which has aided Solskjaer. The club now has a football director, John Murtough, and a technical director, Darren Fletcher. Solskjaer also picked his backroom staff, all with knowledge of United: Mike Phelan, Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna. Mike Phelan was Sir Alex Ferguson’s assistant manager and now holds the same title under Solskjaer. His experience has been invaluable and no doubt a massive helping hand. Michael Carrick holds the role of first team coach, a role he also held under Jose Mourinho, and his knowledge of the club as a player will allow him to give plenty of advice to the current players. Kieran McKenna was part of the Tottenham youth system and managed United’s U18’s, playing an exciting and flowing brand of football. He graduated to the first team under Jose Mourinho and was retained by Solskjaer. By retaining staff from Mourinho’s time it keeps a constant and reliable span, which is more comforting for players.

Another way Solskjaer has improved United is the positivity around the club. This comes from the fact that Solskjaer is a good man manager, he does not slate his players in public and protects them as best he can from the press. Many believe this attitude is taken from Sir Alex Ferguson as Solskjaer played under him and admits that he gets a lot of advice from his old manager. This attitude is also the opposite of his predecessor Jose Mourinho, who would constantly slate players such as Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw during his tenure. By acting this way, newspapers have less to write stories about as the toxicity has lessened. Many believe this makes the club a more appealing destination to potential players as there is less media speculation and they will be protected by their manager.

The style of play has also improved under Solskjaer. It is easy to see that their aim is to play fast, free flowing attacking football. Whilst there is not a consistent, clear identity just yet, the indicators are there of what sort of football that Solskjaer wants to play. Furthermore, this can also be seen through the transfers that Solskjaer has made. Bruno Fernandes is the standout performer and most of the play goes through him. He makes passes that allows the rest of the team to get down the channels and exploit defenders weaknesses. To allow this style of football to be played, the defence needs to be solid. Hence why the signings of Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.