Solskjaer can do what Jose Mourinho did to help Manchester United sign Jadon Sancho
Man Utd are interested in signing Jadon Sancho but have a job on their hands to do so given the team's current plight.by Liam Corless, https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/authors/liam-corless/
In years gone by, a player of interest to Manchester United would view a match for their then-current club as an audition ahead of a potential move to Old Trafford.
During Sir Alex Ferguson's time at the helm, players who joined United were virtually guaranteed to add one or two trophies to their list of honours - even if they didn't stick around for long.
United won at least one major trophy in 19 of Ferguson's 26 full seasons in charge; the Reds' success under him was the club's advert to potential signings.
That's not to say United always landed their top targets.
Paul Gascoigne snubbed United for Spurs in 1988, Alan Shearer's love for his boyhood club was so strong he snubbed a chance at greatness to return to Newcastle in 1996 and Ronaldinho favoured the warmer climes of Barcelona over Manchester in 2003.
The rule of thumb, though, was that if Ferguson wanted a player, that player would generally arrive.
These days, it's not so simple. These days, the north-west climate is not the only thing preventing marquee players from joining United.
United are still the club in England when it comes to history, economic value and worldwide fanbase, but they are no longer the club for on-field success.
Manchester City overtook United as soon as Ferguson retired and Liverpool have since done the same. Chelsea and Leicester have both won titles since United were last crowned kings of the land.
So what hope do United have, then, of landing the most exciting teenager in world football?
It emerged earlier this week that Jadon Sancho has decided three seasons at Borussia Dortmund is enough and that he wants a new challenge next season.
United's interest in Sancho dates back to his time in City's academy and they are expected to pursue a deal for him this summer. However, as things stand, there are several clubs in Europe who are better placed than United to match Sancho's on-field ambitions.
It is now down to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his players to prove to Sancho that United's is a project worth signing up for.
With three months remaining in the season, United's primary goal is to secure qualification for next season's Champions League. Failure to do that, and Sancho to United is a non-starter.
Sancho's talent and consistent brilliance are deserving of the greatest stage and the Europa League is not that.
Thankfully, United have the quality required to make a return to Europe's elite club competition a reality - and, unlike a couple of their top-four rivals, they have two cracks at it.
Victory at Stamford Bridge on Monday night will revive hopes they can qualify through their league position but defeat could prompt a shift in priorities.
When it became apparent United would not finish inside the top four three seasons ago, Jose Mourinho made winning the Europa League his number one priority.
United beat Ajax in Stockholm and made three high-profile signings in Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Victor Lindelof. Alexis Sanchez arrived the following January, buoyed by the chance of playing in the Champions League knock-out phase as Arsenal prepared for a gruelling Europa League schedule.
United may well have to repeat Mourinho's relative success of 2017 or face missing out on one of the talents of this generation.