Manchester United: Can Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lead them to a Premier League title?

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is in line for a great new deal at Manchester United – the clearest sign yet that the hierarchy believes he is the man who will bring them success.

Sportsmail understands that Solskjaer will continue talks for a new deal worth approximately £ 7 million per year.

Solskjaer has yet to reach a grand final as United boss and has already fallen into four semifinals. They are still active in the Europa League this season, but are outside the fray domestically, 14 points behind rival Man City.

With that in mind, Sportsmails IAN LADYMAN and CHRIS SUTTON both sides discuss whether Solskjaer really has what it takes to bring the league title back to Old Trafford.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's new deal suggests Man United thinks he can get them a league title

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s new deal suggests Man United thinks he can get them a league title

Manchester City is free for 14 points and is not really under pressure to win the league title

Manchester City is free for 14 points and is not really under pressure to win the league title

Manchester City is free for 14 points and is not really under pressure to win the league title

YES

Chris Sutton

Solskjaer is not seen as Pep Guardiola or Jurgen Klopp. Instead, for whatever reason, he’s considered more of a gym teacher. And that is not correct.

This is a manager whose understanding of tactics is underestimated. There is no doubt that Manchester United have improved under Solskjaer.

Both the players and the club benefited from his being there. Luke Shaw looked like an example under Jose Mourinho, but now he’s in the England squad. That’s largely thanks to Solskjaer, who has also had some very big wins.

It was United that ended Manchester City’s 28th unbeaten game earlier this month, remember. They went to AC Milan, navigated a tricky second leg and have an inviting quarter-final of the Europa League to follow.

Solskjaer's reputation (left) is completely different from someone like Pep Guardiola's (right)

Solskjaer's reputation (left) is completely different from someone like Pep Guardiola's (right)

Solskjaer’s reputation (left) is completely different from someone like Pep Guardiola’s (right)

Players have benefited under Solskjaer and they continue to improve under his leadership

Players have benefited under Solskjaer and they continue to improve under his leadership

Players have benefited under Solskjaer and they continue to improve under his leadership

Solskjaer took United to third place in the Premier League in its first full season. Now they are the second after a very special city side.

With this contract extension, the question now is: can United conquer the title under Solskjaer? Yes, I would say they can, but only if the club continues to support his manager and get him an Erling Haaland.

That’s what they missed: a player who brings the wow factor to the goal.

Bruno Fernandes creates the opportunities, but they can use someone like Dortmund striker Haaland to finish them off. Edinson Cavani is an excellent, experienced forward, but his fitness is unreliable.

I would like to see Solskjaer back in the market. Imagine the shockwaves it would send if they beat their rivals City with Haaland’s signature!

It would also not hurt Solskjaer’s chances of convincing everyone that he is the right man for the job if he wins the Europa League.

Get your hands on a trophy and continue your league progress.

Bruno Fernandes is a brilliant creator of opportunities, but United needs a clinical striker to finish

Bruno Fernandes is a brilliant creator of opportunities, but United needs a clinical striker to finish

Bruno Fernandes is a brilliant creator of opportunities, but United needs a clinical striker to finish

United would send shockwaves through their rivals if they could poach Erling Haaland

United would send shockwaves through their rivals if they could poach Erling Haaland

United would send shockwaves through their rivals if they could poach Erling Haaland

NO

Ian Ladyman

As they try to get out of the Covid-19 pandemic and move on, Manchester United have just wrapped themselves up in a security blanket.

That’s what this new contract feels like for Solskjaer. It feels safe. Safe if not ambitious.

Solskjaer didn’t do bad at all at Old Trafford. The first team was a mess when he took over from Jose Mourinho.

A large institution that was already a bit wobbly – after the failed tenure of David Moyes and Louis van Gaal – was on its way to becoming almost irrelevant, at least on the field.

That is what the Norwegian arrested. He has made United credible again.

He has taught his own way of playing. It may not always be convincing, but at least it is recognizable. United is second in the Premier League. Young players, such as Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford, have improved under Solskjaer.

Holding Solskjaer for two more years feels like a safe, albeit unambitious, decision by United's board

Holding Solskjaer for two more years feels like a safe, albeit unambitious, decision by United's board

Holding Solskjaer for two more years feels like a safe, albeit unambitious, decision by United’s board

The downside is that United are a very distant second to Manchester City. What they badly need soon is someone to close that gap and it’s hard to believe that Solskjaer is the man.

The 48-year-old feels like a coach for the top four, while United needs someone to win another league title. It’s been eight years already. A decade will come and go before we see the Premier League trophy back at Old Trafford, I’m sure.

Solskjaer is neither an inspiring manager nor a particularly smart coach. He’s tougher than he looks and sounds at times, but he’s far from being an elite coach. I don’t think he will ever make that step.

Manchester United is a club designed to win titles. The second should never be enough.

Solskjaer is a man for the baby steps, while United has to take big ones.