What Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must focus on now as permanent Man Utd boss

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has finally been confirmed as the next permanent manager of Manchester United, signing a three-year deal at Old Trafford.

The Norwegian can now look to the future, focusing on the final few months of this season and beyond. 

With plenty still to play for this season, and club restructuring high on the agenda this summer, Sportsmail takes a look at the key areas the 46-year-old must focus on over the coming months.  

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has landed the Manchester United managerial role on a permanent basis 

SECURING A TOP-FOUR BERTH

Few predicted the turnaround at Manchester United that Solskjaer has overseen since he was appointed caretaker boss on December 19 last year.

He was handed the reins of a side languishing in sixth spot, 11 points off the top four with a brief to smooth things over until the end of the campaign. He has done just that, and then some.

Thirteen Premier League matches and 10 victories later, United are now right in the thick of the race for a Champions League spot having caught up with rivals Chelsea.

They are now closing in on north London neighbours Arsenal and Tottenham who occupy fourth and third – sitting two and three points behind the pair respectively.

With two games left against ‘top-six’ rivals, and both at home, there is no reason the side cannot continue their fine form under Solskjaer and secure a place at Europe’s top table for next season.

United's formidable form under Solskjaer has seen them catch up to top four rivals Tottenham

United's formidable form under Solskjaer has seen them catch up to top four rivals Tottenham

United’s formidable form under Solskjaer has seen them catch up to top four rivals Tottenham

GETTING AS FAR IN EUROPE AS POSSIBLE 

There is another way that United can secure a Champions League berth, of course. Although winning the competition is an entirely more daunting prospect.

The fact that they are still in the running has played a large part in Solskjaer securing the managerial role on a permanent basis, such was the unlikelihood of their turnaround in Paris.

Their European journey seemed destined to end against Paris Saint-Germain, but after inspiring an incredible comeback at the Parc des Princes, an echo of the last-gasp feats the Norwegian pulled off during his playing days at Old Trafford, Solskjaer has a free hit when it comes to a quarter-final date with Barcelona.

It is entirely fitting that his first season in charge should see him return to the Nou Camp, the scene of his most famous night in a red jersey. A repeat of his 1999 heroics from the sidelines would arguably elevate his status among fans even higher — if that were at all possible.

The comeback in Paris was completely unprecedented and gives United a free hit in Barcelona

The comeback in Paris was completely unprecedented and gives United a free hit in Barcelona

The comeback in Paris was completely unprecedented and gives United a free hit in Barcelona

PREPARING THE SUMMER SHOPPING LIST 

Solskjaer has impressed the Old Trafford hierarchy with his ability to shore up a defence that was leaking goals under Jose Mourinho. While he has saved the club millions of pounds at centre back, there are still areas that need addressing.

Antonio Valencia will depart this summer, and despite Ashley Young deputising admirably at right back, it is clear that this is an area that needs investment. Crystal Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka is a name that continues to crop up, while a deal for Juventus’a Joao Cancelo has also been mooted.

Elsewhere, uncertainty over personnel in midfield has seen attentions drawn to finding a new central anchor.

World Cup finalist Ivan Rakitic has been mentioned in the same breath as United across European media outlets, while Toni Kroos has also been linked.

Atletico’s Saul Niguez recently changed his representation too, and despite signing a long-term deal at the Wanda Metropolitano a move is not out of the question either.

United will look to strengthen at right back in the summer with Aaron Wan-Bissaka a target

United will look to strengthen at right back in the summer with Aaron Wan-Bissaka a target

United will look to strengthen at right back in the summer with Aaron Wan-Bissaka a target 

…AND WORKING OUT WHO TO LET GO

The upturn in fortunes that Solskjaer has brought with him to Old Trafford has lifted a gloom that saw many heads turned towards the exit door.

Paul Pogba’s relationship with Mourinho deteriorated so badly that his departure this summer seemed inevitable, but Solskjaer’s approach has reportedly seen the Frenchman change his tune.

There is still uncertainty on some however, with Ander Herrera yet to pen a new deal, while even Solskjaer’s arrival has done little for the fortunes of Alexis Sanchez.

Barring the already-announced departure of Valencia, however, Solskjaer would be happy for little movement out this summer.

The change in mood at Old Trafford since Solskjaer joined could persuade Paul Pogba to stay

The change in mood at Old Trafford since Solskjaer joined could persuade Paul Pogba to stay

The change in mood at Old Trafford since Solskjaer joined could persuade Paul Pogba to stay 

PREPARING FOR A DIRECTOR OF FOOTBALL

If executive vice chairman Ed Woodward is to get his way however, Solskjaer’s role in the ins and outs at Old Trafford will be slightly diminished.

The appointment of a director of football has proved elusive so far, but having now secured their long-term manager, the powers that be can now focus their attentions on getting in a body upstairs.

Paul Mitchell, the Manchester-born head of recruitment at RB Leipzig, is considered an ‘outstanding fit’, while other former United stars, such as Peter Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sar have also had their names mentioned.

While the appointment will ultimately be made by those above them, Solskjaer will want his voice heard when it comes to someone he will be working closely with on recruitment. 

Having secured the next manager, Ed Woodward's attentions will turn to a director of football

Having secured the next manager, Ed Woodward's attentions will turn to a director of football

Having secured the next manager, Ed Woodward’s attentions will turn to a director of football 

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