Ole Gunnar Solskjær reveals how close he was to signing Bellingham, Haaland and Rice at Manchester United

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 6th March 2024

Gary Neville has finally managed to get Ole Gunnar Solskjær on The Overlap and the Manchester United legend turned manager has finally shed some light on just how close he came to singing the likes of Jude Bellingham, Erling Haaland and Declan Rice.

Appearing alongside Stick To Football regular and former teammate Roy Keane as well, Solskjær arguably one of the biggest looks behind the curtain since he was sacked from Man United back in 2021, detailing everything from the state of the dressing room to how he fit into the hierarchy around the club.

Perhaps most interestingly, the one-time ‘baby-faced assassin’ also spoke on his attempts to bring Premier League stars Haaland and Rice to Old Trafford, as well as another one of England and Europe’s most exciting talents: a then-teenaged Jude Bellingham, now shining at Real Madrid.

Explaining the player recruitment set-up in more detail than most Reds will have ever heard before, Ole insisted that while he was consulted and did get to say ‘yes or no’ from a list of players, he did bring all three of these names to the table but they didn’t work out for one reason or another.

Ole talks Rice, Bellingham, Haaland, the Ronaldo deal and more on Stick To Football.

Starting with Rice before he went to Arsenal, he said that although it “would’ve cost some money, we could and should’ve gone for him” at the time, as well as going on to reveal that they managed to get Bellingham in the building to meet legends like Sir Alex, Cantona and Bryan Robson.


However, while he insisted that they tried to sell him the project as best they could, he said that even at his age “he knew what he wanted: x amount of minutes in the first team… he had it planned out”, adding that he was “the most mature 17-year-old I’ve ever met in my life”.

As for the matter of his fellow countryman Haaland, who he had already managed back home in Molde as a youngster, Solskjær said that after roughly two seasons of coaching him he “rang the club and said, ‘You’ve got to sign this boy’, he’ll be absolutely top class”.


Unfortunately, United didn’t see fit to take a chance on his recommendation even after he became manager, passing up the opportunity of signing him for just a £20 million release clause and then again for £60m after he started scoring for Salzburg. As fellow ex-pro and panellist Jill Scott put it: “Bargain”.

The former United manager believes Haaland could have put his dad’s Leeds and Man City ties aside if they got in there early enough.

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Ole also went on to discuss the process of bringing Cristiano Ronaldo back to Old Trafford, which despite claiming was “the right decision at the time” he admits “didn’t work out” for either of them, citing complaints when he wasn’t played as the wider impact on their desired playing style overall.

Beyond that, the 51-year-old reflected on players passing up the captaincy for certain games during his tenure, taking time away from management after being at United, his own playing career and how Erik ten Hag is fairing at present and more in the lengthy chat.


You can watch Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s episode of Stick To Football in full down below:

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Featured Images — Вячеслав Евдокимов/The Overlap (via YouTube)/Wikimedia Commons