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Opinion

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Raul Jimenez serve up a lesson for Mike Ashley

8 months ago
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Maybe the first and last time that you will see Mike Ashley, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Raul Jimenez mentioned in the same sentence.

The Newcastle United owner needing to take notice of the events surrounding the Manchester United manager and Wolves striker.

A reminder of what normal Premier League clubs do when needing to make decisions and planning ahead.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was a desperate appointment when Manchester United made him caretaker manager on 19 December 2019.

Having felt they had no other option but to sack Jose Mourino mid-season, Man Utd gave the former player the manager’s job on a temporary basis until the end of the season.

An impressive set of results put Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in a great position and despite losing his last two matches (2-0 to Arsenal in Premier League and 2-1 to Wolves in the FA Cup), the Glazers gave Solskjaer the permanent job on a three year contract on 28 March 2019.

As for Raul Jimenez, after Wolves won promotion in May 2018 the striker was brought in on loan on 12 June 2018.

A big success in their first season up, after scoring 12 goals in 30 Premier League starts (two appearances off the bench) Wolves agreed a deal with Benfica on 4 April 2019 to make the deal permanent for £32m.

Meanwhile, over at Newcastle United.

The Magpies have Salomon Rondon on loan for the season and pivotal to the imminent survival, having scored nine goals in 25 Premier League starts (plus two appearances off the bench).

For Rafa Benitez, he has been at St James Park for 37 months (so far) and is now only five weeks away from taking charge of the final game of his current contract. In his first full season he won promotion as champions, second season ended up tenth in the Premier League despite a minimal budget, then has put Newcastle on the brink of survival despite Mike Ashley insisting on a £20m profit on transfers last (2018) summer.

Newcastle fans need to look elsewhere to be reminded of what is normal and common sense.

When you have a much decorated manager in place and a loan striker who has been pivotal to your (relative) success this season, sometime in the summer is not when you should be looking  to sort things out.

Manchester United didn’t suddenly decide on 28 March to offer Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the permanent deal and three year deal. They will have constantly been looking at the bigger picture and knew they had to make a decision by a certain date. That date being well before the end of the season because so many other things will then flow from that managerial decision afterwards.

Similarly with Raul Jimenez, his future needed to be sorted now. He has shown what a success he can be at the club and you need to get him tied down permanently whilst he is in situ, not wait on until after the season has ended and risk him saying enough is enough and/or another club moving in on him.

After Newcastle play Fulham on the final day of the season, it is only seven weeks until the squad meet up to start pre-season training.

It is now when plans for next season are being made, it is now when you are wanting to send out signals to prospective signings.

If Newcastle United/Mike Ashley do indeed intend to make credible Premier League signings this summer at credible Premier League prices, you need to be telling this is who the manager is (Rafa Benitez) and this type of early signing (Salomon Rondon) proves that we mean business and NUFC are a club worth joining.

Muddling through another summer and probably ending up losing both manager and star striker, earlier rather than later, is simply a recipe for disaster, and Newcastle fans have seen plenty of those over the past 12 years.

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