Earlier in the year reports emerged stating Solskjaer would be rewarded with a new long-term deal irrespective of what United achieved before the end of the season – it’s just as well, considering they ended it trophyless.
Yet despite the lack of silverware it was still seen as a campaign of ‘progress’ – the controversial buzzword pushed from club officials up top.
Reaching a first major final and finishing second in the Premier League was certainly the best season under Solskjaer, but that doesn’t mean it was a success.
Indeed, it perhaps epitomised just how far United had fallen if last season were to ever be dressed as success, with Solskjaer himself admitting no season without a trophy can ever be one to rave about.
Yet it is credit to the ethos he has created that United were adamant he deserved a new deal, with departing executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward echoing the faith held in the Norwegian.
“What is especially pleasing is the way this progress has been achieved with a blend of young, homegrown talent and top-class recruits, playing attacking football in the best traditions of Manchester United,” he said. “We are more confident than ever that, under Ole’s leadership, we are heading in the right direction.”
You only have to look at the major summer tournaments to see what good work Solskjaer has done; with Luke Shaw rejuvenated under the Norwegian as well as Brazilian midfielder Fred. A year ago both might have missed out on such call-ups, instead they are now key players for their respective nations.
The Solskjaer effect also branches out into the transfer market too, with Jadon Sancho buying into the ethos of the club as a platform for the best young talent in world football while Raphael Varane is happy to leave Real Madrid for a team which hasn’t won silverware since 2017.
Such belief in the manager could come to fruition next summer too, as top target Erling Haaland is expected to leave Borussia Dortmund when his release clause can be triggered.
The Norwegian striker rejected a move to United at the start of last year, with uncertainty over Solskjaer’s long-term role at Old Trafford believed to be one factor behind the snub.
“You have to go to a club where the whole club wants you, not just the coach,” his father, Alf-Inge Haaland, told TV2 last year. “I think that’s the most important thing, in addition to how the club has been over the last five or ten years and what direction they’ve taken.
“Because it’s dangerous to just sign for a coach, because he can suddenly be sacked.”
If Solskjaer is still in charge at United next summer it is likely he will have achieved his targets of winning a trophy and mounting a serious title challenge, all key factors in luring a player like Haaland to the club.
Summer moves for Sancho and Varane are further endorsements of the faith the board have in the manager and his long-term vision for the club.
While he might not have done enough to warrant a new deal in some fans eyes, Solskjaer’s new contract could be a huge part in securing the players which will convince the doubters otherwise.
Do you want an exclusive pre-season United preview – both in your inbox and through your letterbox? Head over here to find out more and secure your copy.