Former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer emerges as favourite to land Aston Villa manager post

 

Former Manchester United star Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has rapidly emerged as a red-hot favourite to become the next Aston Villa manager.

Solskjaer's odds have plummeted today with bookmakers across the country, coming in to around 6-4 from 25-1 following Alex McLeish's sacking.

The 39-year-old has only recently entered into club management following a stunning playing career, predominantly with United where he spent 11 seasons from 1996 to 2007, scoring 126 goals in 366 appearances.

Solskjaer then coached United's reserves for two and a half years before joining Molde, the club where he played for two years prior to moving to Old Trafford, leading them to their first Norwegian league title in 100 years last October.

Solskjaer's emergence as a potential target comes on a day when McLeish has expressed his regret at letting down the Villa fans following his season of failure with the club.

McLeish was sacked by owner Randy Lerner after just 11 months in charge, overseeing a dismal campaign in which Villa came within two points of relegation from the Barclays Premier League.

Villa managed a club record low of four home wins, with their points tally of 38 their lowest for 42 years and their eventual 16th-place finish their worst in six seasons.

McLeish said: "When I accepted the role as manager of Aston Villa Football Club I was acutely aware of the responsibility I had to find the best way to serve the great traditions of one of the finest clubs in professional football.

"I was truly honoured to have been given the opportunity to manage the club, which plays such an important part in the fabric of the local community and to its worldwide fan base.

"I relished the challenge and, together with my loyal and very capable staff, dedicated all of my efforts into moulding a successful team.

"My only regret in leaving now is we weren't able to achieve more for the supporters and their high expectations.

"Finally, I want to take this moment to say that I have nothing but the highest respect for the club and sincerely wish it and the fans great success in the future."

Lerner flew to the UK yesterday to begin the search for McLeish's successor in earnest.

Lerner said earlier in the week that under McLeish Villa lacked "compelling play and results", with his desire now to appoint a man "who sees the club's potential and embraces our collective expectations".

However, his plans are likely to have been thrown off kilter by Liverpool's sacking of Kenny Dalglish yesterday.

Aside from Solskjaer, other targets on Villa's radar such as Wigan's Roberto Martinez, Brendan Rodgers at Swansea and Norwich's Paul Lambert are almost certain to figure highly on Liverpool's list of prospective candidates.

Martinez spurned Villa's advances a year ago, and after his astonishing end to the season in keeping the Latics up, has been installed as one of the favourites for the vacancy at Anfield.

One man apparently not in Villa's thoughts is Mick McCarthy, dismissed by Wolves in mid-February after nearly six years in charge.

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible