Cardiff have now officially announced former-Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as their new boss.
The Norwegian was in the stands to watch his new team lose 2-0 at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium on New Year’s Day and has now taken control of the team.
Solskjaer believes the Cardiff job is a great opportunity. At his unveiling he said “I feel lucky to be back in the Premier League. I had to have a talk about it with the family obviously but it is a great opportunity,”
“Short-term the most important thing is getting points and performances, but longer-term, finishing above Swansea must be an aim,” he said rather jokingly.
The Norwegian boss will have to deal with unpopular Cardiff owner Vincent Tan, who caused controversy by changing the team’s home colours. He was then criticised for his treatment of former-Bluebirds boss Malky Mackay.
Tan seemed to endure a difficult relationship with the Scot and will be hoping that he enjoys a better understanding with the new boss. Tan will also be hoping that Solskjaer is a success at the club, as it will quieten the dissent amongst the Cardiff fans.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s move to Cardiff is a gamble for all parties involved. The Norwegian was previously believed to have turned down a move to Aston Villa and this is his first venture into management in England.
He obviously has the experience of playing and coaching at Manchester United, but no actual managerial experience in the Premier League. However, he will have a lot contacts in the English game and should have a better knowledge of the Premier League than most foreign coaches coming into the league.
The Cardiff board and owner Vincent Tan have taken a gamble by hiring a boss that has never previously managed at the top level. Solskjaer is a highly-rated young boss, but his only managerial experience came at his first club Molde, where he had done a very good job.
Solskjaer brought consecutive Norwegian league titles to Molde, a club that had never managed a title triumph in their history. His team also secured the Norwegian cup in November 2013, although his team finished a disappointing sixth place in the Norwegian top-flight.
His success with Molde has brought him to the attention of many English clubs looking for a promising young manager, including the aforementioned Aston Villa. Solskjaer had also been linked with a switch to managerless West Brom, prior to his move to Cardiff.
Apparently Solskjaer is somebody that enjoys a challenge and managing a club with a set-up like Cardiff’s will be just that. However, it is as Solskjaer stated in his interview, an opportunity for the former-United ace to prove himself in the big time.
At just 40 years-old he is something of a managerial rookie, but the signs are that he has the potential to be a very good manager. The Premier-League is a far cry from the Norwegian league and it is vital for Solskjaer that he makes a good start to his Cardiff career.
Solskjaer has spoken of his ambition of managing in the Premier League in the past and now is his chance to show he is not just all talk. He has already been touted as a future Manchester United manager in some circles, but that sort of talk is wildly premature at this stage of his career.
Although Solskjaer will not admit it I am sure he sees the Cardiff job as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. Cardiff has the potential and fan base to be a massive club, but while the unpopular Vincent Tan remains in control of the club the Bluebirds are never going to fulfil their potential.
For any newly promoted team survival is the name of the game and that is no different for the Bluebirds. They are currently just one place and point outside the relegation zone. The club from the Welsh capital are currently odds of 7/4 to be relegated from the top-flight.
Solskjaer will be looking to drag the Bluebirds away from the drop zone as quickly as he can. Whether he can or not will largely be dictated by the amount of interference he gets from Mr Tan. If the Norwegian is allowed to do his job then he has every chance of keeping the club in the top-flight.
However, if Mr Tan interferes too much in team matters, then I can see the Bluebirds heading back into the Championship. That would be hard on the fantastic Cardiff fans, as they deserve to be in the top-flight and hopefully the appointment of Solskjaer can keep them there for next season.
Is Ole Gunnar-Solskjaer the right man for Cardiff?