Seemingly ever since he was named head coach at Norwegian club Molde, former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been mentioned in connection with Premier League jobs. Perpetually thought of the ‘will make a good manager’ type, the push behind Solskjaer’s acclaim has never been clear. Do the media keep him in mind because those within the game are talking about him? Or is he just a guy who has stayed on the periphery of the conversation, his transition to reserves coach at Manchester United making him another potential Alex Ferguson “why not” legacy?
Between coaching United’s youth teams and his time with Molde, it’s not like Solskjaer has accumulated huge list of high-level accomplishments. Is he really better qualified to claim a Premier League job than those managing at higher levels? Yet in the wake of Malky Mackay’s departure at Cardiff City, his name has again popped up, with The Guardian going as far as to use Sunday’s match coverage to report the 40-year-old has turned down the job. This was an hour after The Telegraph said Solskjaer was still in Cardiff’s sites, with other outlets have also reported the Bluebirds’ interest in the Molde boss.
To his credit, Solskjaer has accumulated an impressive record at Molde. If there was any doubt as to whether he would make a good manager, he’s eliminated it in the very basic sense. One year after being appointed Molde boss (in 2010), Solksjear led the club to the Norweigan Premier League title, a feat he reproduced the following season. While Molde slumped to a sixth place finish in this year’s Tippeligaen, MFK did claim the Norweigan Cup. Whatever qualities those initial reports were relaying about Solskjaer’s managerial credentials, they’ve played on in his first managerial job, Molde having won 48 of the 90 league matches since his hire.
At this point, we’re beyond asking why Solskjaer has been mentioned in connection with the Cardiff job. It’s very unlikely all these sources are pulling the same things out of thin air. The more pertinent question is whether he is still in the running. The Guardian tried to make the case he wasn’t, apparently reading between the lines of a Cardiff chairman’s words. Other places are either chasing their reporting or going in a different direction.
All of which leaves us with questions about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Cardiff. They’re different questions than we may have had when his name came up on Friday, but they’re questions nonetheless.