Solskjaer in talks with Villa

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has officially opened talks with Aston Villa about becoming the club's new manager.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has officially opened talks with Aston Villa about becoming the club's new manager.

Solskjaer is currently in charge of Molde, a club where he spent two years prior to joining Manchester United in 1996 with whom he made 366 appearances, scoring 126 goals in 11 seasons.

A statement on Molde's website read: "Molde Football Club is aware of interest and contact from Aston Villa, and is aware that Aston Villa and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are holding talks."

Solskjaer's odds on taking up the post vacated by Alex McLeish on Monday following the Scot's sacking were slashed yesterday down to 6-4 from 25-1, with the Norwegian odds-on favourite today.

Lerner's private jet yesterday flew into Solskjaer's home town of Kristiansund to collect the 39-year-old and fly him to Birmingham today to begin negotiations.

Solskjaer is seen as the young, progressive manager required by Lerner after first failing with Gerard Houllier and then McLeish in the wake of Martin O'Neill's departure in August 2010.

After quitting playing in 2008, Solskjaer took charge of United's reserve team for two and a half years before guiding Molde to their first Norwegian league title in 100 years last October at the end of his debut campaign in charge.

Solskjaer, however, is just one year into a four-year contract, and can look forward to Champions League football next season.

Another consideration for the man who earned the nickname of 'the baby-faced assassin' during his United days is his family of wife Silje and three children and whether to uproot them given they have only just settled in Norway.

However, the lure of Premier League football and going head-to-head with old mentor in Alex Ferguson, as well as reviving Villa's hopes following a woeful season, is likely to prove irresistible.

McLeish presided over a season in which Villa managed a club record low of four home wins, accumulating a points tally of 38 which was their lowest for 42 years and an eventual 16th-place finish which was their worst in six seasons.

Solskjaer is currently en route to Birmingham having not shown up to take training today, despite Molde facing an away game at Sandnes Ulf on Sunday.

Former Middlesbrough, Sheffield United and Barnsley striker Jan Aage Fjortoft, now a television presenter, tweeted: "Molde confirms Aston Villa interest for Solskjaer. Ready to negotiate."

Fjortoft has also confirmed Lerner's jet departed Kristiansund today, adding: "Employees at the airport saying Ole Gunnar AND his wife were on board. Seems like Elvis has left the building."

Fjortoft, however, does have his doubts about Solskjaer accepting the job as he said: "Not sure Solskjaer will go for this.

"Champions League with Molde and always one who likes to end what he is starting. But hey! It's Premier League."

Former Aston Villa striker John Carew believes Solskjaer is an ideal candidate to lead the midlands club out of the doldrums.

Carew, who spent four years with Villa, scoring 52 goals in 133 appearances, said: "This would be a fantastic job for Ole Gunnar to have.

"Villa are among the six, seven biggest clubs in England. They have fantastic fans and a fantastic stadium.

"Solskjaer is a big name in England. On top of that, he has the mentality and respect from players he needs to suceed."

Speaking to Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet, Carew added: "Villa are also a club who, without doubt, love Norwegians and Scandinavians.

"I've received tweets from Villa fans today who want Solskjaer as their new manager. I think Villa will work really well under his leadership.

"Everything suggests Solskjaer can have a great managerial career in England."

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