OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER warned Manchester United fans that Old Trafford will be a building site for years.
He may have breezed into the job as replacement for Jose Mourinho like a breath of fresh air, quickly blowing away the cobwebs of Mourinho’s stuffy era and going on an eight-game winning run.
The United legend knows that too many players have been stinking the place out since he was appointed permanent manager last month.
And he bluntly admitted: “It is a rebuild. And we know it’s going to take a few windows.”
As Solskjaer prepares to undertake a major reconstruction, he posed five crucial questions of his players.
He demanded to know: “Are they fit enough? Are they hungry enough? Do they want this enough?
“Do they want to give everything to the team? Or do they think only about themselves?”
What answers he gets will determine the futures of a clutch of players within a sixth– placed squad struggling to make the Champions League spots.
Ahead of today’s vital clash at Everton, Solskjaer not only asks questions of the players but of a recruitment policy that has been little short of a disaster since Sir Alex Ferguson left in 2013.
Some £741million has been spent on 22 major signings since then.
Angel Di Maria, Marouane Fellaini, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Memphis Depay, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Morgan Schneiderlin and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are gone. Ander Herrera and Juan Mata are soon free agents.
Nemanja Matic, Eric Bailly, Matteo Darmian, Alexis Sanchez and Marcus Rojo could all be moved on if there is interest.
David De Gea — signed by Fergie — is only going to be at United next season because the club invoked a clause to add a year to his contract, as he holds out for £350,000 a week.
Real Madrid’s returned boss Zinedine Zidane is fluttering his eyelashes at Paul Pogba. So there is turmoil ahead as Solskjaer — almost certainly alongside the club’s first director of football — prepares to go back to the drawing board.
But he admits the club’s somewhat scatter-gun approach to transfers has to stop.
He added: “Any new signing has to be the right player, the right fit.
“We can’t just take players in because we need a body.
“I don’t know the reason we have signed most of the players here. But I do know that they were brought here because they have great quality and previous managers have seen that.
“The question I ask is, ‘Do they fit into Man United and the style I want this club to play?’.”
United’s culture of success has clearly been eroded since Ferguson retired from active duty.
Solskjaer explained: “I have my way of doing things and I expect them to be done. We want to create a culture that we believe in.
“That might mean small things like having breakfast or lunch together.
“I like my players to take ownership of their own careers and their futures.
“That’s the type of player I like and I have been impressed by many of the players we have here. Not all of them — but a lot of them.”
What Solskjaer can confirm is that youngsters will be part of rebuilding Old Trafford in his own image.
He has shown faith in midfielder Scott McTominay and others will get the same opportunity — as Solskjaer prepares to offload the dead wood.
He added: “You have to make tough decisions. You have to say, ‘I don’t think you’re for me’.
“But take Mason Greenwood, he’s just 17 years old but he is a player for me.
“I want to give him the chance to become a top player at this club.
“It’s the same with Marcus Rashford at 21 and Diogo Dalot at 20.
most read in football
“These players are going to get a chance and that is going to affect players at the other end of their careers.”
One of those might be Sanchez, on £505,000 a week, who has flopped.
Solskjaer added: “Alexis has fantastic talent when he’s at his best level. Now we want him performing for us.”