Villa close on Solskjaer after talks

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer moved a step closer to becoming Aston Villa’s next manager as he held talks with owner Randy Lerner yesterday.

But the former Manchester United striker returned to Norway to find his current club, Molde, in turmoil as a direct consequence of his actions.

Solskjaer held a four-hour meeting with Lerner, calling the talks with Villa “casual”. However they prompted Molde’s billionaire backer to pull the plug on his company’s 20-year support, which included building a new stadium.

Businessman Kjell Inge Rokke, chairman and a major shareholder in industrial investment firm Aker, said Solskjaer was asked to answer questions about his plans before holding talks with Villa, but had not provided answers. Rokke said: “This is perceived as incompatible with the MFK [Molde football club] community we are part of.”

Solskjaer claims he is one of many names in the frame for the post vacated by Alex McLeish on Monday following the Scot’s sacking.

Solskjaer added: “I can confirm I’ve spoken with Aston Villa. There were no negotiations, but an informal initial chat. They also have other candidates they want to talk to.”

Solskjaer guided Molde to the league title last season for the first time in their 100-year history.


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