Norwegian football legend Ole Gunnar Solskjær has emerged as a top candidate to return to the football club in Molde and take over for departing coach Tor Ole Skullerud.
The popular Solskjær, who spent many successful years playing for Manchester United, served as Molde’s coach from 2011 to 2013 and led the football club to win both the league championship and the annual national cup.
He left two years ago when an opportunity arose to coach in the UK’s top league. His tenure as head coach for Cardiff in Wales, however, was short-lived when the club failed to immediately win matches under Solskjær’s guidance.
Solskjær, keen to continue his coaching career, has been looking for a new job since and has figured among candidates at other top European clubs, most recently Basel in Switzerland. Earlier this week, Skullerud announced that he’d be resigning as Molde’s head coach at the end of this season. His family has already moved home to Bærum, west of Oslo and he has chosen to follow them.
Molde’s owners and management have already launched a search for his replacement. Joacim Jonsson, football expert for sport channel CMore, told news bureau NTB that he thinks the stage is set for Solskjær, age 42, to return to Molde for the 2016 season.
“I’m quite certain that they’re thinking about Solskjær as (Skullerud’s) replacement,” Jonsson said. “If it’s not him, I think they’ll look abroad.”
He added that Molde is a club where an “established” coach should take over. Solskjær himself is back home in nearby Kristiansund on Norway’s northwest coast where, according to newspaper VG, he is getting various job offers every day. Aalesund reportedly was in contact with him this spring and he’s also been mentioned as a replacement for Rikard Norling at Brann in Bergen.
“Ole Christian says himself that it’s all a matter of timing,” Christian Michelsen, coach of Kristiansund’s club, told VG. Local residents give him the peace he enjoys in Kristiansund and don’t nag him about his future, Michelsen said. “I think most want to have a chat with him about this, he’s a big celebrity here and everyone cares about him,” Michelsen said. “But we’re very conscious of not bothering him.”