The dismissal of Ole Gunner Solskjaer wouldn’t be exactly fair but given the plight Manchester United are currently in, it wouldn’t be exactly unexpected. Despite assurances that the club are behind the former United striker, there are rumours that the former Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri has been contacted and that his arrival is ‘very close’ according to reports in Italy.
It’s thought that Allegri could be installed within weeks and that the United board are currently working out the compensation package for Solskjaer, a financial package for Allegri and that they are looking to confirm the amount of money that the Italian will have at his disposal for transfer targets.
Allegri is said to be willing to wait until the end of the season after verbally accepting the role but that could be accelerated if United suffer more damaging results.
With Liverpool just around the corner, Solskjaer has to somehow motivate an extremely poor side to achieve more than its actually capable of. Solskjaer’s woes continue with the news that Pogba and De Gea will be absent against Klopp’s premiership leaders.
Of course no one expects a win or a draw for United and they are generally thought of as the odds on favourites to be soundly beaten. In 12th place and 15 points behind Liverpool, a defeat will certainly increase the pressure and weaken the resolve of the board and owners who recently gave Solskjaer their support.
The Norwegian is starting to assume the role of a man on fire who’s only choices to extinguish the flames is to roll in a nearby puddle of gasoline or to wrap himself in sheets of flammable material. Yes, it’s pretty futile.
Allegri, the man in waiting, is not only a manager of tactical intelligence, but he is someone who encourages creative freedom and attacking flair.
He has won Serie A five times, the Coppa Italia four times and the Supercoppa Italiana twice. He was also the Champions League runner up with Juventus in 2014/15 and 2016/17 and was named Serie A Coach of the Year on four occasions.
By way of stark contrast, United are having their worst start to a season in 30 years under Solskjaer and they are currently in worse shape than they were under Jose Mourinho. This has come as no surprise to some within the profession and to one player in particular that the Norwegian managed.
Tommy Smith, the former Cardiff winger expressed concerns when United gave Solskjaer the job permanently, having worked under him at the city stadium:
“Initially, I was surprised when they announced he was interim manager. Just from what I’d seen at Cardiff, he struggled to be honest. I didn’t think it was going to work. I was probably one of the biggest critics.”
“He took on a lot at Cardiff. We were struggling at the bottom of the Premier League and it’s always tough to come in under those circumstances and pressures.”
“We were a level lower than he probably ever played with. His recruitment wasn’t great and that’s probably why his reign came to an end.”
“It’s very different when you go into a team that’s under-performing and you’ve got players you can allow to release. He probably knew how to do that.”
Having watched Cardiff’s departure to the championship, Solskjaer then managed Molde, which has a capacity of 11,249. This hardly competes with Allegri and its this type of comparison that shows how badly Ole is out of his depth.
I recently said that Solskjaer could be gone by December but with this new speculation, that would appear to be overly optimistic if results continue the way they have of late.
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