In the summer of 1998, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur agreed a transfer for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the chairmen of the two clubs agreeing the deal.
However, Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t want to sell him and Solskjaer didn’t want to leave, so he stayed put.
Martin Edwards and Alan Sugar had agreed a fee – £5.5m, I think. But the gaffer called me into his office and said: “I don’t really want to sell you because if you stay here you’ll play enough football.” That was enough for me. I didn’t want to go; my agent did. He said he had never met a person as stubborn as me. But I was right. I normally am!
Solskjaer has also claimed that he still has the fax, signed by Edwards and Sugar, of the transfer that never was.
You will understand how close I was to leaving Old Trafford when you know there is a fax, signed by Martin Edwards and signed by Alan Sugar, the clubs had agreed a fee and they were just waiting for my signature. I still have it in my possession.
The gaffer called me into his office and said the clubs have agreed but I don’t want you to go. He said I’d be a big part of my squad. He also said the conversation would be between the two of us. If he had said I am sorry to see you go but all the best in your career, then I would have gone. But he wanted me to stay and so I didn’t sign the fax. Hopefully I have paid back the £5.5m that had been agreed with Spurs!
When you walk out of his office and he says you will be part of his squad you walk out ten feet tall. I was as happy as Larry. It is strange to see that fax. The manager deserves the credit for all the success I have had. That was just one example of the kind of manager he is.
Solskjaer went on to score 18 goals in 37 appearances that season, including the fairly important injury time winner in the European Cup final.