The day Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer turned down Tottenham


It’s a fax that could have changed the course of history. In 1998 a £5.5million deal was agreed to take Ole Gunnar Solskjaer from Manchester United to Tottenham Hotspur.

United chief executive Martin Edwards and Tottenham chairman Sir Alan Sugar had signed the fax confirming the deal. All it needed was Solskjaer’s signature and he would have swapped Old Trafford for White Hart Lane.

This was 12 months before the moment in the Nou Camp that wrote his name into United folklore, with the winning goal in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich.

Had he left he would have been fondly remembered at United. But his role in one of United’s greatest nights would never have materialised and he almost certainly wouldn’t have had the status that convinced the club to install him as caretaker manager in December when they parted ways with Jose Mourinho.

 

But as Solskjaer was contemplating that move 21 years ago he walked past Sir Alex Ferguson’s office and heard the words he wanted to keep him at the club.

“Everything was agreed. The two clubs had signed and were just waiting for me. It was that close,” Solskjaer said in an interview in November 2010 when he left his role as manager of United’s reserves to take over at Molde.

Solskjaer could have left United for Tottenham but for a word from Sir Alex Ferguson

“The gaffer called me into his office and closed the door. He said the conversation was just going to be between the two of us.

“He told me I would be a big part of his squad and he didn’t want me to go.

“If he had said all the best in your career, I would have gone. But he wanted me to stay and so I signed.

“Hopefully I paid back the £5.5million that had been agreed with Spurs. But it is strange now to look at that fax.”



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