Wenger bullish on Solskjær’s chances at Cardiff City

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Ole Gunnar Solskjær has not been officially unveiled as Cardiff City’s next manager, but after showing up with Bluebirds’ owner Vincent Tan for today’s match at Arsenal, the cat’s out of the bag. Once thought to be out of the running for the vacant post, the former Manchester United striker’s appointment is considered to be inevitable, with this weekend’s FA Cup match against Newcastle  expected to mark Solskjær’s debut.

Young and with no Premier League managerial experience, Solksjær returns to England as a popular if uncertain bet, but to Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger, Solskjær has already displayed the acumen needed to be a successful Premier League manager.

“He has already experience as a manager in Norway, so he has learned his job,” Wenger said after his team’s 2-0 win over the Bluebirds on Wednesday (as relayed by the BBC).

“He was an intelligent player, so he is an intelligent boy as well, and that will help him to be successful.”

Perhaps that’s just the way Wenger talks — saying Solskjær “will be” successful instead of qualifying the assessment — but it also reflects the common conception of the young manager’s potential. Seen as a possible Premier League boss since he retired at Manchester United, the former Norwegian international has been lauded for his intelligence and temperament, with his success at Molde lending credence to those early evaluations. Whether being an intelligent player necessarily translates into manager success isn’t clear, but to some who followed his career at United, Solskjær’s always been an obvious candidate for a Premier League squad.

Previously a candidate for Aston Villa’s managerial position, Solskjæar has been on Premier League radars for some time. Now, after three years managing in Norway, Solskjær’s ready to make the jump, electing to try to carry Tan’s well-funded squad away from a relegation battle.

While many have noted the eccentricities of Tan while arguing Cardiff’s not a good fit for Solskjær, Wenger still sees the Bluebirds job as an opportunity – at all young manager could ask for.

“It is a chance. Basically what you want when you are young is a chance, and you have to make the maximum of that chance.”

After Wednesday’s loss, Cardiff City have 18 points through 20 rounds, leaving them one point above the Premier League’s bottom three.

Soccer world reacts to the Manchester attacks

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NBC News is reporting that at least 19 people have been killed and another 50 are injured following a possible suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

Multiple senior U.S. intelligence officials who are monitoring British authorities told NBC News that preliminary reports indicate that a single explosion took place outside the arena on the southwest side opposite the train station. The explosion occurred as the concert ended, catching people as they exited.

Soccer clubs, players and personalities around the world are reacting to the horrible event.

Juventus purchases Cuadrado from Chelsea

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If you didn’t realize Juan Cuadrado still belonged to Chelsea, you’re forgiven.

The Colombian attacker will complete his second season at Juventus after the UEFA Champions League Final against Real Madrid, and won’t be headed back to Chelsea afterwards.

Juve has purchased Cuadrado, and the fee is $22 million, and Juve will pay it over three seasons. Cuadrado, 28, is now signed through 2020 with The Old Lady.

Cuadrado first went on loan to Juve in Aug. 2015, and has eight goals and 18 assists in 83 career appearances with the club.

Chelsea bought Cuadrado from Fiorentina for around $32 million in the January 2015 transfer window, but made just 14 appearances with the club.

Report: Jermain Defoe meeting with Bournemouth

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Sky Sports is reporting that Jermain Defoe may head back to the south of England following Sunderland’s relegation.

Defoe, 34, spent two seasons with Portsmouth between 2008-09, scoring 15 goals in 31 appearances.

[ MORE: ‘The Moment’ of each PL club’s season ]

The 56-times capped England striker had a clause in his Sunderland contract allowing him to leave the Stadium of Light were the Black Cats to be relegated, as they were this season. He’d have little interest in dropping into the Championship given his desire to stay a part of the England squad ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

Bournemouth’s strike corps includes Joshua King, who scored the most goals of any player not on a Top Seven side this season. King’s 16 goals were one more than Defoe’s 15, though the latter scored just one goal following a brace against Crystal Palace on Feb. 4.

Chelsea’s Conte wins pair of top managerial honors

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Antonio Conte took league and national honors from the League Managers Association on Monday night.

The Chelsea boss was named Premier League Manager of the Year and Manager of the Year after leading the Blues to the PL title and an FA Cup Final in his first year on the job.

Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton nabbed another Championship boss of the year award after leading the Gulls to the Premier League. He also won the honor with Newcastle United in 2010.

The League One winner is Chris Wilder of Sheffield United. Wilder won the honor with Northampton Town last season.

In League Two, Paul Cook of Portsmouth was named the winner.