OLE Gunnar Solskjaer has had talks with Randy Lerner about Aston Villa’s managerial vacancy as the board step up their search for a bright young boss to revitalise the club.
The former Manchester United goalscoring hero emerged as the frontrunner in a shortlist including Paul Lambert, Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool target Roberto Martinez.
Villa have not narrowed their search to just those four names and the board are still deliberating over other possibilities in the hunt for Alex McLeish’s replacement.
But the emergence of Solskjaer as a genuine contender shows the claret and blues are looking to take a completely new direction to freshen up the club after a sorry season.
The Norwegian press reported on Thursday that Lerner’s private jet had been dispatched to Kristiansund in Norway to fly Solskjaer to Birmingham for talks about the position.
Solskjaer has only been in management for a year-and-a-half after initially serving his apprenticeship as a reserve team coach at Old Trafford.
However, he has enjoyed instant success at Molde by winning the Norwegian championship for the first time in the club’s 100- year history.
Molde have also started this season in good form and are second in the table behind leaders Stromsgodset after nine matches.
His success has been dealt despite making a slight profit with his transfer dealings.
Solskjaer is keen on managing in the Premier League after starring for United in the English top flight for more than a decade. But his young children are at school in Norway and it would mean him moving back to England while his family remain in his native land.
Villa’s first team coach and reserve manager Kevin MacDonald is also interested in the top job he was interviewed for two summer ago.
MacDonald missed out to Gerard Houllier in 2010 but striker Gabby Agbonlahor has endorsed his claims for a fresh crack at the role.
“I think he would be a good candidate,” said Agbonlahor.
“He’s very good with the younger players and has won the reserves’ title I don’t know how many times now.
“He’s had two years’ more experience since then and I think he would be a good choice.
“Obviously, it’s the chairman’s decision.
“But I don’t think the fans should discount him because he’s not a big name.”