Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will return to Norway in January openly admitting he hopes to return one day and become Manchester United manager.
Fourteen and a half years after arriving at Old Trafford as a virtual unknown from Molde, Solskjaer is going home to start a management career, and few would be surprised if it proved to be a success.
As ever, Solskjaer consulted Alex Ferguson on the matter, only agreeing to take up the offer because the Scot advised him to.
The bond between the pair is great, which is why Solskjaer has no worries about starting his dream of following in the Scot’s illustrious footsteps.
“I am not ashamed of saying that if I enjoy management and that invitation came in 15 years time I would say yes,” he said.
“Everyone who has played for Manchester United dreams about it. Me, Ryan Giggs, Bryan Robson, Mark Hughes.
“More than anything, the last few years have shown me you need experience and you need to be the best to be the manager of Manchester United. How the gaffer has handled the club and managed it is a fantastic example to anyone.
“He is the encyclopaedia of how to manage and I do daydream about what might happen in 15 or 20 years time when I have the experience.”
It is certain Solskjaer will be received with open arms at Old Trafford whenever he returns, no matter what capacity.
Reserve team boss since his retirement in 2007, the 37-year-old established himself as a legendary figure with his injury-time goal at the Nou Camp to win the European Cup in 1999.
He was a hero to supporters for far more than that, although Solskjaer now reveals one of those occasions – against Newcastle in 1998 when he charged the full length of the field to chop Rob Lee down as he was about to score the winning goal, knowing he would get sent off and suspended – was one of the rare times he received the hairdryer treatment.
“I stepped out of line and he put me in my place in front of everyone,” recalled Solskjaer. “I was called into his office next morning and had to pay a fine.
“He wanted us to win but he did not want us to cheat. He didn’t want to be associated with that and he was right.”
United do have a man now likened to Solskjaer in Javier Hernandez, who could well have a role to play at Aston Villa tomorrow.
Changes are certain following Wednesday’s draw at Manchester City as Paul Scholes is suspended, while Rafael has a dead leg.
In addition, Patrice Evra is likely to be ruled out with an ankle injury.