Ole Gunnar Solskjaer signed his contract extension at the weekend to clear up any lingering doubt over his future at the club.
Solskjaer signed a deal running to 2024 with an option for a further year. The extension comes at a crucial time for Solskjaer’s United, with the team hoping to mount a title challenge next season.
United are backing Solskjaer to go one better than he has so far, and the way he is being supported in the transfer market suggests he is a manager the board believe in.
But aside from usual inane comments from Ed Woodward in the press release about Solskjaer’s extension, the really backing Solskjaer got at the weekend was from Jadon Sancho.
Sancho’s reasons for wanting to join Manchester United speak volumes for the squad Solskjaer has built.
Sancho told the club website after his transfer was confirmed: “That’s one of the reasons why I came to Manchester, because I can see the development that’s going on here and I want to be a part of it.”
Solskjaer built this team
The winger can see he is joining a young vibrant team with stars his own age who have huge talent, and they can grow together for years to come and win trophies over and over again.
Whether that is with Solskjaer or not, it doesn’t matter. Solskjaer will be remembered as the manager who put this team together, and that is his legacy.
He will rightly get the first shot at winning silverware with this Sancho led team. The new contract gives him a bit of stability too. And if he can’t get the job done, Solskjaer will step aside for another manager to take on the challenge.
Getting the chance to play in an attack with Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood regularly is a big appeal to Sancho. He will be supported with talents like Amad, Facundo Pellistri and Anthony Elanga too. For this season there is also Edinson Cavani to learn from.
Sancho has a big part to play in helping United reach the next level and there may be some growing pains. It might not all come instantly and United may have a few setbacks before moving forward. It would be wrong to assume it will all click right away, when the seasons are long and the league is more competitive than ever.
A clear direction
We should not take Sancho’s comments for granted. For years after Sir Alex Ferguson retired, United lacked a clear direction.
The David Moyes era appeared to have none, while mixed messages were sent in the Louis van Gaal era, with Ed Woodward attempting and failing to make Galactico style signings, and the ones he did flopped spectacularly.
Not enough patience was shown with young players like Memphis, while Luke Shaw only thrived through sheer determination. Jose Mourinho’s spell was a win now at all costs policy, which failed to deliver and left Solskjaer picking up the pieces.
At times under each of those managers, United were not the most attractive club to join, due to the lack of upward direction and stability. It has taken Solskjaer a bit of time to turn it around.
Sancho’s comments prove he has the club moving in the right direction, and whatever comes next, Solskjaer deserves credit for the first act of his spell in charge.
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