Solskjaer becomes Cardiff boss: win-win or a risk for everyone?
The stakes are high as Vincent Tan appoints former Man United striker as Bluebirds boss
FORMER Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been appointed as the new manager of Cardiff City, replacing Malky Mackay who was sacked over Christmas after a long stand-off with controversial owner Vincent Tan.
Having cut his teeth as a member of the Man United coaching staff and then as manager of Molde in his native Norway, Solskjaer has now decided to try his luck as a Premier League boss under one of the most notorious owners in the division.
Not only must Solskjaer keep Tan happy, he will also be expected to keep Cardiff in the Premier League. The Bluebirds lie fourth from bottom, one point above the drop zone, and have won only one of their last ten matches.
After the appointment was confirmed, Solskjaer described his new job as a "fantastic challenge" and declared: "Cardiff City are ready to take the next step up, I hope I can help them."
Most observers agree that dealing with Tan, who has been vilified for sacking Mackay, will indeed be a challenge. Mackay likened working for the Malaysian businessman to "taking a tiger for a walk", according to Oliver Kay in The Times. It was "an extremely delicate operation that included the ever-present threat of extreme danger," he explains.
Watching how Solskjaer goes about his business will be "fascinating" he says. "It will not just be his tactical and technical nous that will be tested. Solskjaer's equanimous temperament is about to be tested to the full. Standing up to his new chairman would be a risky tactic, but so too, it seems, would allowing The Vincent Tan Show to continue."
His tenure at Cardiff "promises to be eventful, if nothing else", writes James Corrigan in the Daily Telegraph. But he adds that the howls of derision on social media from fans and experts wondering what Solskjaer is doing getting into bed with Tan are "almost certainly misguided".
Indeed the Norwegian may actually be in a win-win situation. "If Solskjaer keeps them up, he's a genius. If he doesn't, it's Tan's fault. Believe it, this could be the making of Solskjaer as a manger but it will not be the breaking of him."
Another interpretation, put forward by Phil McNulty of the BBC, is that it is a risky appointment for both parties. "Owner Vincent Tan is handing the role to a rookie in Premier League terms," he points out. Meanwhile, the new man will "need to make a fast start to ease some of the lingering anger and frustration among supporters at the departure of the popular, not to mention successful, Mackay".