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Solskjaer in mix to take Villa reins

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is on the shortlist at Aston Villa as Randy Lerner steps up his search for a new manager.

Solskjaer, the former Manchester United forward and current manager of Norwegian side Molde, is on Lerner's radar along with Roberto Martinez, Paul Lambert and Brendan Rodgers.

The 39-year-old fits the criteria of a young, ambitious manager that has been identified as crucial by Villa following the difficult spells endured by Alex McLeish and Gerard Houllier.

The odds plummeted last night on him becoming McLeish's successor, but as yet there has been no official approach. The fact Solksjaer has emerged as a surprise contender for the post only underlines how his stock is rising after an impressive start to life as a manager.

After a distinguished playing career predominantly with United, where he spent 11 seasons and scored 126 goals in 366 appearances, he coached the reserves for two and a half years before taking the job in his native country.

He guided Molde to their first league title in October and his contract, that runs to the summer of 2014, is believed to contain a substantial buy-out clause.

Irish Independent