Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was never the right choice for Manchester United manager, says Lee Sharpe, with the Red Devils told Arsene Wenger is “too Arsenal” to take the reins and that Mauricio Pochettino should have been approached.
Those at Old Trafford may find themselves back in the market for a new manager at some stage in the near future.
Solskjaer is tied to a three-year contract, but he is struggling to convince as an underperforming United side fail to find quality and consistency in their game.
Sharpe feels the 1999 Treble winner was always a risk, given his lack of top-level coaching experience, and United missed a trick by not moving to lure Pochettino away from Premier League rivals Tottenham.
The former Red Devils winger told MetaRatings: “I didn’t think he was the right man when he got appointed full-time, but I think that if the fans and the board are prepared to give him the time and transfer windows that he needs to see his plan through to fruition, and to buy the players that he wants in January and the summer, then we can assess eight or nine months down the line from now where we are at.
“He obviously knows the club; how the club wants to play, how successful it has been and where they need to get. We can see that he has a plan and it’s just going to take a little bit of time to get into place, but they need to back him and give him the time that he needs, because changing the manager in a few months will only set us back to square one again.”
Sharpe added: “I would have gone for Pochettino and signed out his buyout clause. I don’t think he was happy at Tottenham.”
The current Spurs boss continues to be linked with a move to Old Trafford, as questions are asked of Solskjaer, while a one-time rival of United has also been mooted as a possible candidate to fill a prominent post.
Ex-Arsenal boss Wenger is, however, considered to be an unrealistic option in the eyes of Sharpe.
He said of the iconic Frenchman, who spent 22 years in charge of the Gunners: “I think he’s too Arsenal. I think he is a great manager, very wise and knowledgeable about the game, and I think he probably would have been good for United, but he’s just too Arsenal. He was there for too long and too much of the Arsenal furniture.”
Whomever guides United forward, be that Solskjaer or somebody else, Sharpe admits there is a big job to be done at Old Trafford.
He has not been convinced by some of the transfer business overseen of late, with the decision to sell Romelu Lukaku to Inter over the summer one of a number of puzzling calls.
Sharpe added: “I think there have got to be regrets, as they are short in the centre-forward department anyway. Lukaku is a proven goalscorer and the only issue with Lukaku is the way the team play and set up. You need to play to his strengths, and his strengths were not like a Mark Hughes who played with his back to goal and holds the ball up.
“Lukaku is better playing on the shoulder of the defender, looking for the ball in behind and over the top, looking for crosses coming into the box and at the moment, United seem to be wanting to play that way to Lukaku’s strengths, but they haven’t kept him and wanted him to be a part of that. Ole had different ideas and evidently wants to go down a different route with the players that he has got, but without being able to buy someone in the summer, I think it was a huge mistake.”