When former Cardiff City manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was announced as Jose Mourinho’s successor until the end of the season, it looked as though Manchester United were trying to bring a feel-good factor back to Old Trafford during a miserable campaign, but that the former United striker would only serve as a stop-gap until the Red Devils went all-out to get their primary target in the summer.
I say it looked as though, but in truth, I’m still 99% sure that was the case. Solskjaer has done more than bring a feel good factor to Old Trafford though, he’s brought a style of play greatly appreciated by supporters and - more importantly - results. The Manchester United manager set a record for the most points won by a manager in their first 10 Premier League games at a club, as well as securing an unlikely passage through to the Quarter-Finals of the Champions League, and he’s now the favourite to be appointed the club’s long-term boss.
This isn’t Solskjaer’s first stint managing in the Premier League though, since he briefly and rather unsuccessfully took charge of Cardiff City in the 2013-14 season, replacing Malky Mackay but failing to find a way out of the relegation zone.
Solskjaer signed exactly seven players during his half-season at Cardiff in the Premier League, and it’s those seven players we focus on here, but we should point out that he did make further additions following the club’s relegation and prior to his dismissal.
Here are Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s 7 Cardiff City signings: Where are they now?
7. Magnus Wolff Eikrem - Molde
Solskjaer’s first three signings at the Cardiff City Stadium were all players he knew well from his time managing in Norway with Molde. The first of those three was Magnus Wolff Eikrem, who Solskjaer has managed on four different occasions during his short managerial career. The first of those came in youth and reserve football at Manchester United, where Solskjaer coached and Eikrem began his career.
Both player and manager moved to Molde in 2011, where Eikrem’s impressive playmaking abilities saw him called up to the national team. Cardiff paid a reported £3.5 million to bring him to Wales as Solskjaer’s first recruit, but Eikrem struggled to make any kind of impact. He registered just 6 Premier League appearances, and following moves to Malmo and the Seattle Sounders, he reunited with Solskjaer at Molde in 2018.
6. Mats Moller Daehli - St Pauli
Joshua King, Mats Moller Daehli of Norway during training before Spain v Norway UEFA QUALIFIERS EURO 2020 at Estadio Mestalla on March 22, 2019 in Valencia, Spain.
Another player Solskjaer had in his youth ranks as a coach at Manchester United and as a manager at Molde, Mats Moller Daehli was just 18 when he joined Cardiff City for a reported £2.4 million in January 2014. At the time of the move, Daehli was already a full international, and Solskjaer claimed Manchester United had wanted to re-sign the midfielder at the time but he had chosen Cardiff instead. He featured more regularly than Eikrem, but he too struggled to make a real impact and was soon on his way. Still only 23 years of age, Daehli is currently impressing in Germany’s second tier with St Pauli, and could still have a bright future ahead of him.
5. Jo Inge Berget - Malmo
The last of the trio of Norwegian internationals signed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer from his former club Molde in January 2014, Jo Inge Berget played his youth football for Udinese rather than Manchester United. A tireless frontman often deputised on the left flank, Berget partnered former Watford striker Odion Ighalo up front during his time in the Udinese U20 team. Having bagged 22 goals in 86 games for Molde, Berget registered just two appearances and failed to score in his single half-season with the Bluebirds. Now aged 28, Berget recently joined Malmo for a second time, having just spent one season playing for New York City FC in the MLS.
4. Kenwyne Jones - Retired
Trinidad & Tobago forward Kenwyne Jones (9) heads the ball as United States defender John Brooks (6) comes in on defense during the first half on June 8, 2017 during a World Cup soccer...
A little bit more of an experienced signing by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Kenwyne Jones had turned out for the likes of Southampton, Sunderland and Stoke in the Premier League before arriving at Cardiff. A popular figure at both Sunderland and Stoke, Jones was a little inconsistent during his time in Cardiff, and he was said to be among the club’s top earners following relegation to the Championship. The big Trinidadian centre-forward, who was a particular menace in the air, went on to sign for Atlanta United in the MLS, but he retired after just a single season aged 32 in 2017.
3. Fabio - Nantes
A Premier League title winner who started in the 2011 Champions League final, Brazilian left-back Fabio didn’t feature as regularly at Manchester United as his twin brother Rafael, but he still racked up over half a century of appearances. However, having been sent off in his final appearance for the club under David Moyes, the Red Devils were happy to sanction a £1.5 million deal for the full-back to join Cardiff. Fabio spent two-and-a-half years in south Wales, where he registered 68 appearances, before being sold for a profit to Middlesbrough. The 28-year-old is now playing top flight football in France with Nantes, whilst his brother Rafael also turns out in Ligue 1 with Lyon.
2. Wilfried Zaha - Crystal Palace
Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace looks on during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Brighton & Hove Albion at Selhurst Park on March 09, 2019 in London, United Kingdom.
We don’t usually count loan deals in these kinds of videos, but since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer brought in exactly seven players during his time in the Premier League with Cardiff, and we are of course HITC Sevens, it seemed rude not to. The fourth former Manchester United player in this seven, Wilfried Zaha was contracted to United when he joined the Bluebirds on-loan, but he was never at Old Trafford at the same time as Solskjaer.
The now Ivorian international’s confidence had taken a whack following his move to United, where he was Sir Alex Ferguson’s final signing, and he didn’t make much of an impression during his 13 appearances on-loan at Cardiff. The 26-year-old seems to have undergone some real character building since then though, and he’s now the main man at Crystal Palace, and one of the most dangerous players in the bottom half of the Premier League.
1. Cala - Las Palmas
A centre-back who won the Europa League as a bit-part player with Sevilla the season before he signed for Cardiff, Juan Torres Ruiz - better known as Cala - lasted less than 12 months in the Welsh capital. A steady centre-back with good technique during his time in Spain, the most notable incident of Cala’s brief stay in Britain was a red card he received for pulling back Connor Wickham when the striker was through on goal. Now aged 29, Cala recently had an equally brief stint in China, but is now back in Spain - or the Canary Islands at least - playing in the Segunda Division with Las Palmas.
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