After two more disappointing Premier League results and a less than convincing Carabao Cup performance against Colchester United in the last week, pressure is once again mounting on Manchester United manager Olé Gunnar Solskjaer.
With Mauricio Pochettino, one of the world’s most coveted coaches, available and known to be interested in the United job, it is absolutely the wrong time from the Norwegian’s point of view for the Red Devils to go on a bad run of performances.
Whilst executive vice chairman Ed Woodward has remained very supportive of Solskjaer and, thus far, having adopted a pragmatic, long-term view of the rebuilding project needed at Old Trafford, he will need to feel sufficient progress is being made and must be at least slightly tempted to jump ship and hire the Argentinian whilst he is available.
There is, however, one immediate issue that might stop Woodward from wielding the axe: Erling Braut Haaland.
United are believed to be in pole position to sign the talented young Norwegian for a bargain price of £17 million. This is in large part due to the personal connections and professional history that Solskjaer has with the Haaland family.
In fact, it has already been widely reported that in deliberating over whether his future lies with the Red Devils, Haaland has asked for assurances that Solskjaer’s position is safe at Old Trafford.
— Times of News Europe (@TimesEurope) December 18, 2019
If Solskjaer is sacked, Haaland could well decide to go elsewhere, with Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, Red Bull Leipzig and AC Milan among the chasing pack.
This Manchester United side is in desperate need of a forward with Haaland’s talents and Woodward knows it would be catastrophic if the club allowed the 19-year-old to slip through its hands. For this reason alone, he cannot afford to lose Solskjaer at this juncture, even if it means missing out on Pochettino.