Football News

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Man Utd deal is good news for Spurs, but bad for Liverpool’s ‘most important player’

By Harry Edwards

Published: 16:27, 28 March 2019

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been named as the new permanent Manchester United manager, but not everyone is celebrating.

The Norwegian has done an impressive job since replacing Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford in December, turning their season around when it looked already over.

Nobody expected Solskjaer to do this well, and many believed it would just a role to last him until the end of the season when a bigger name with more managerial experience would come in.

However, Solskjaer’s stay is not good news for everyone. While in his caretaker role, the Norwegian was living Alan Partridge-style in a hotel – the same one Jose Mourinho had stayed in during the entirety of his two-and-a-half-year time in charge of United.

But now given the job on a permanent basis, Solksjaer will be looking to bring his family over to England in the near future and move into his former house.

Shortly after his appointment, the Norwegian told United’s official website: “We’ve really enjoyed the last eight years living in Norway,’ the club legend said in an interview with Manchester United following his appointment.

“It’s going to be a change for them but we’re looking forward to it. The six months that we agreed on [when initially taking the job on until the end of the season] as a family we agreed to do it separately as there was no need or use to move them over, that’s gone now. Now we’re moving together.

“We built a house, or I started it in 2007, but finally maybe in 2019 we can move into it – that’s long planning!”

That house is currently in use by Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk, who moved in temporarily upon joining the Reds in January 2018.

This is something which has previously been mentioned by Solskjaer, who joked he would be kicking Van Dijk out of his home.

Asked whether the two had spoken at the start of March, Solskjaer replied: “Yeah, he’s evicted.”

Van Dijk has been a colossus in defence for Liverpool since signing, helping the Reds counter their biggest weakness to concede just 18 goals in 31 Premier League games this season.

Liverpool currently top the table, looking for their first league title since 1990, a quest Van Dijk has been vital for, with former Red Sami Hyypia saying: “Alisson came in the summer and we made some good signings in the midfield as well, but I think Virgil van Dijk is the most important player for the team.

“He makes the other players play better and he gives a lot of confidence to the others as well. He’s such a good player.”

Fortunately for Van Dijk and Liverpool, Solskjaer is unlikely to make the move until the end of the season, when his family are able to travel over.

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While Van Dijk may be upset, Solskjaer’s news capped off a brilliant month for Tottenham Hotspur fans.

March has seen Tottenham’s new White Hart Lane stadium given its first test event ahead of Spurs’ return next month, but also eased worries over the future of Mauricio Pochettino.

For Tottenham fans, the fear following Mourinho’s sacking in December was that Pochettino would be high on Manchester United’s wishlist for the permanent role. Since taking over in 2014 the Argentinian has turned Tottenham into genuine top four contenders having so often been on the periphery – an achievement which has rightly earned him plaudits as one of the Premier League’s best managers.

These fears would have been elevated when Santiago Solari was sacked by Real Madrid at the start of March – another team constantly being linked with Pochettino.

But Real recalled Zinedine Zidane and United decided to keep Ole at the wheel, leaving Pochettino safe from the claws of Europe’s big boys for at least another season.