Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has officially opened talks with Aston Villa about becoming the club’s new manager.
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Solskjaer is currently in charge of Molde, a club where he spent two years prior to joining Manchester United in 1996 with whom he made 366 appearances, scoring 126 goals in 11 seasons.
A statement on Molde’s website read: "Molde Football Club is aware of interest and contact from Aston Villa, and is aware that Aston Villa and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are holding talks."
Solskjaer’s odds on taking up the post vacated by Alex McLeish on Monday following the Scot’s sacking were slashed on Thursday, with the Norwegian odds-on favourite on Friday morning.
Lerner’s private jet flew into Solskjaer’s home town of Kristiansund on Thursday night to collect the 39-year-old and fly him to Birmingham today to begin negotiations.
Solskjaer is seen as the young, progressive manager required by Lerner after first failing with Gerard Houllier and then McLeish in the wake of Martin O’Neill’s departure in August 2010.
After quitting playing in 2008, Solskjaer took charge of United’s reserve team for two and a half years before guiding Molde to their first Norwegian league title in 100 years last October at the end of his debut campaign in charge.
Solskjaer, however, is just one year into a four-year contract, and can look forward to Champions League football next season.
Another consideration for the man who earned the nickname of ‘the baby-faced assassin’ during his United days is his family of wife Silje and three children and whether to uproot them given they have only just settled in Norway.
However, the lure of Barclays Premier League football and going head to head with old mentor in Sir Alex Ferguson, as well as reviving Villa’s hopes following a woeful season, is likely to prove irresistible.
McLeish presided over a season in which Villa managed a club record low of four home wins, accumulating a points tally of 38 which was their lowest for 42 years and an eventual 16th-place finish which was their worst in six seasons.
Former Middlesbrough, Sheffield United and Barnsley striker Jan Aage Fjortoft, now a television presenter, tweeted: "Molde confirms Aston Villa interest for Solskjaer. Ready to negotiate."
Fjortoft has also confirmed Lerner’s jet departed Kristiansund, adding: "Employees at the airport saying Ole Gunnar AND his wife were on board. Seems like Elvis has left the building."
Fjortoft, however, does have his doubts about Solskjaer accepting the job as he said: "Not sure Solskjaer will go for this.
"Champions League with Molde and always one who likes to end what he is starting. But hey! It’s Premier League."