Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was surprised at Manchester United’s reluctance to scout top targets for other European giants prior to his sacking, according to reports. The 48-year-old was given plenty of backing during his time at Old Trafford. Yet he was axed in November after overseeing a dire start to the current campaign.
United regularly backed Solskjaer with high-profile signings during his two-and-a-half years as permanent manager.
Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James were all recruited back in the summer transfer window of 2019 from Leicester, Crystal Palace and Swansea respectively.
United then snapped up Amad, Facundo Pellistri, Donny van de Beek, Edinson Cavani and Alex Telles the following year.
And, just last summer, Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo were all brought to Old Trafford.
Unlike his predecessors, Solskjaer never complained about the club’s transfer business during his time in the dugout.
But The Athletic say the 48-year-old was ‘surprised’ by the board’s reluctance to scout players at the top ten clubs in Europe.
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Regarding the signing of Varane, United snapped him up after his availability was raised by agents. The club detailed extensive reports on the centre-back, who was previously a target for Sir Alex Ferguson.
Yet the publication says there has been a reluctance from above to ‘actively gather significant information’ on possible targets at Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and more.
Ed Woodward, who recently left United, apparently preferred scouts to focus on emerging talents at other teams instead.
United players, it’s claimed, thought at the start of the campaign that this team was the club’s strongest for several years.
Yet the Red Devils have endured a torrid season and now face a huge fight to secure Champions League football.
United, upon sacking Solskjaer, contemplated going after Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino.
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The Argentine is open to returning to the Premier League, despite being contracted to the Parc des Princes until 2023 having signed an extension last year.
However, in the end, the club decided to appoint Ralf Rangnick on an interim basis instead.
While United have become harder to beat under the German, results have still failed to live up to expectations over the past few weeks.
They’re currently fifth in the table, behind West Ham albeit with a game in hand.
But United will fall down the standings should Tottenham and Arsenal both win their two matches in reserve.
Pochettino is said to be one of the frontrunners for the United job come the summer, with PSG hopeful of naming Zinedine Zidane as his replacement.
Erik ten Hag is also being eyed, having worked wonders at Ajax ever since taking over in Amsterdam back in 2017.
But United will look at other candidates, too, amid links to the likes of Roberto Mancini, Luis Enrique and Brendan Rodgers.
Solskjaer, meanwhile, insisted he was ‘proud’ of his time at United when conducting a farewell interview in November.
“Very, very proud,” he said.
“Of course, it’s one of those things you dream of in your life. When you’ve been a player, when you’ve been a reserve team coach, the next job then, the only dream and the only thing you haven’t done is to manage the club, and I have now.
“It’s been a ball, it’s been absolutely enjoyable from the first to the last minute, so I have to thank all the players because since I came in, they’re top lads, top people.
“Some have come, some have gone, but all of them, they’ve been such an enjoyable bunch to work with.
“First of all, I want to thank the board and the owners for giving me the opportunity because it’s not for everyone and I’ve had the opportunity.
“I’m so honoured and privileged to have been trusted to take the club forward, and I really hope that I leave it in a better state than when I came.
“I’ve made great friends, I’ve reconnected with some great friends, new staff coming in I’ve become really good friends with. The other staff that was here when I was there, we’re good friends and we have connected and that’s what it’s about at a club like this.
“With the fans, the fans have been amazing. From day one at Cardiff until the last one now. [They’ve been] top, and we’ll see each other again.”