Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sealed his own fate with Cristiano Ronaldo transfer, and has left his Man Utd successor with a huge problem

Posted by

Whoever the next Manchester United manager is, they have a big problem, and that problem is called Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Portugal international returned to Man Utd this summer in an emotional transfer back from Juventus, and he made such a strong start that it looked like this huge gamble had paid off for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Unfortunately, Solskjaer is now gone after a terrible run of results and performances, and  it’s emerged that the Norwegian tactician wasn’t actually that sold on the ideal of re-signing Ronaldo in the first place.

According to the Independent, Sir Alex Ferguson had to convince Solskjaer to take a punt on the veteran forward, who will turn 37 later this season, and that lack of conviction might’ve been the moment the former Red Devils striker ultimately showed he wasn’t up to the job.

It’s seemed clear for a while now that Solskjaer was all too ready to have Ferguson as a more prominent figure since he took over, but to let the legendary Scot push him into signings he didn’t want to make, without much time to formulate a plan about how to fit him in, was a huge moment of weakness.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s signing did not help Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

The result? United certainly added a lethal goal-scorer to the team, but removed that youthful pace up front that had so characterized Solskjaer’s teams. For all they were lacking in other departments, they at least had that threat on the break, with Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and even Anthony Martial on occasion, looking electrifying up front together, particularly in some big games when there wasn’t as much of an onus on them to be the side chalking up the majority of the possession.

Ronaldo remains a world class finisher and a great presence on the pitch, but his arrival hasn’t exactly improved the all-round cohesion of the team, has it? In the end, Solskjaer backed himself into a corner, stuck with a player who didn’t suit his style, and who he couldn’t drop – at least, not without a subtle telling off from the real boss.

Another inevitable problem Ronaldo was always going to bring was headlines such as this one from the Daily Mail, with the Portuguese superstar supposedly left ‘alarmed’ by the drop in standards at the club since his first spell. Anyone could’ve seen this coming, and it’s just the kind of background noise that was always going to make it even more difficult for Solskjaer to keep his job.

Unfortunately for United fans, it’s going to make life just as difficult for whoever replaces him.

The strengths and weaknesses of the four main candidates for the Man United job

BBC Sport has Mauricio Pochettino, Brendan Rodgers and Erik ten Hag as the main candidates in the frame to replace Solskjaer. Another BBC report suggests Zinedine Zidane – the only manager out there you could theoretically see making Ronaldo work in this United side – is not interested in the job.

Can you really see Ronaldo working in a high-energy, high-pressing Pochettino team? Can you really see Ten Hag’s experiences at Ajax translating well to accommodating a superstar like this? Does Rodgers really possess the tactical nous to adjust his side to Ronaldo, or the stature and presence to persuade Ronaldo to adjust to what he wants?

Ronaldo is a problem that won’t be going away any time soon, and then there’s the long list of other big problems to worry about – the Paul Pogba contract situation, Jadon Sancho’s slow start, Harry Maguire suffering a crisis of confidence as club captain, the lack of midfield.

The names mentioned above are probably more qualified to manage this mess than Solskjaer ever was, but make no mistake, it’s still a mess.

More Stories Brendan Rodgers Cristiano Ronaldo Erik ten Hag Mauricio Pochettino Zinedine Zidane

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.