The Norwegian made plenty of mistakes during the tail-end of his Manchester United reign but there were errors made at the beginning of his tenure that the club are still hurting from
Manchester United’s failure to back Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the transfer market led him to reluctantly stockpile players.
The Norwegian was sacked by the Red Devils hierarchy in November of last year after a string of disastrous results left United with a mountain too tall to climb in their pursuit of a league title.
Seemingly every transfer window that passes United are linked with marquee signings but it was not until Solskjaer’s final window at the helm that the club splurged on multiple big names.
Until then, United were reluctant to splash the cash on proven, world class names and instead opted to stick with what they had despite underwhelming results.
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Now a report from The Athletic claims that Solskjaer felt compelled to sanction contract extensions after the club failed to invest in a replacement for Romelu Lukaku.
The Belgian left United in the summer of 2019 after months of speculation for a fee of £80million but another striker did not arrive.
It is only since September 2021 upon Cristiano Ronaldo’s triumphant return that United have gone some way to filling the void Lukaku left in terms of goal-scoring.
In that two-year period, United have relied on the likes of Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Edinson Cavani and even Odion Ighalo at one point to share the goalscoring burden between them.
The reluctance to spend big on a star striker replacement has undoubtedly harmed them over the course of the last two seasons.
Solskjaer also wanted to sign Jack Grealish and was keen on prioritising his transfer.
But the Red Devils failed to broker a deal and instead signed Donny van de Beek, Amad and Facundo Pellistri for an accumulative total of around £80m.
Grealish eventually joined local rivals and “noisy neighbours” Manchester City for just £20m more a year later.
Meanwhile, all three of the aforementioned trio played 680 Premier League minutes for United last season and have all been linked with a move away from the club at some point in their relatively short Old Trafford stints.
As Ed Woodward nears his own departure date after more than 10 years inside United’s boardroom the most damning assessment of his tenure would be how the club have spent more than £1bn in transfer fees yet do not have the silverware to show for it.
United were far too willing to hand contracts to players whose performances have hardly been deserving of one during Solskjaer’s tenure.
Struggling stars like Eric Bailly, Juan Mata and Phil Jones were all, at one time, handed contract extensions during Solskjaer’s reign despite barely featuring for large parts of it.
Now interim boss Ralf Rangnick is facing a potential exodus of stars with 17 players reportedly keen to seek a move elsewhere.
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