Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

Solskjaer set for Cardiff job

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, right, watched Cardiff's game at Arsenal
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, right, watched Cardiff's game at Arsenal

Cardiff are closing in on the appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as their new manager after the former Manchester United forward flew to London on New Year's Day to meet owner Vincent Tan at the Emirates Stadium.

Confirmation of the appointment could follow on Thursday if negotiations between the Molde boss, Tan and chairman Mehmet Dalman progress well after their meeting at Arsenal, where Cardiff were beaten 2-0 by a late brace from the Barclays Premier League leaders.

Talks over bringing in a replacement for the sacked Malky Mackay are understood to have continued in the capital, with any press conference likely to be held back in Cardiff once formalities have been completed.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who is the longest serving manager in the English top flight, sees no reason why Solskjaer cannot make a success of what would be a first major managerial role.

"I have seen him before the game, and they played like they knew he was in the stand," said the Gunners boss following Wednesday's hard-earned victory.

"Cardiff has the basic ingredients to survive in the Premier League.

"You would say if you look at their record they need to add a bit more goals offensively to stay in the league.

"If he (Solskjaer) can find that in the final third something clinical like he was, then they will stay in the league because they have the basic quality to do it."

Wenger continued: "It is a chance (for Solskjaer).

"Basically what you want when you are young is a chance and after you have to make the maximum of that chance.

"He has already experience as a manager in Norway, so he has learned his job.

"He was an intelligent player, so he is an intelligent boy as well, and that will help him to be successful."

Solskjaer has enjoyed a successful spell in charge of Molde, guiding them to two Norwegian titles and a Norwegian Cup.

The 40-year-old is said to have turned down the chance to become Aston Villa manager prior to the appointment of Paul Lambert at Villa Park, while he had also been linked with the current vacancy at West Brom.

However, earlier this week it had been suggested Solskjaer had reservations about taking the job following controversial Cardiff owner Tan's numerous disputes with Mackay over recent months.

Nevertheless, Dalman remained confident he could convince the Norwegian to take over at Cardiff City Stadium with the promise of money to spend in the January transfer window and reassurances over the working structure at the club.

Tan had not been scheduled to attend Wednesday's game at the Emirates Stadium, but flew into London especially to try to push through the deal.

Although the game at the Emirates Stadium could well prove to be the last in charge for caretaker boss David Kerslake, who was assistant to Mackay, and first-team coach Joe McBride, it will remain very much "business as usual" within the backroom staff until any changes are confirmed.

Kerslake said: "Although Joe and myself and the rest of the staff know it is only temporary, the last thing I said to the players that they made me feel immensely proud of the performance they put in.

"I am really unsure whether they knew or not (that Solskjaer was at the stadium).

"There was no talk of it on the team bus and the hotel and in the dressing-room."

Kerslake added: "Whoever comes in, obviously there is an important month coming up, so if he can add to it, make the squad better, then all well and good, but I believe the team are good enough to stay in the Premier League."

There have been no indications as to whether any of Mackay's former backroom staff would be kept on once a new manager has been appointed.

"Coaches and managers in football know that it's a precarious job and we just get on with it. There is no problem there, it is business as usual," Kerslake said.

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