Manchester United chief Woodward had promised he wouldn’t rush into any big decisions. He had pledged to wait until the time was really right to name Solskjaer as the club’s permanent replacement for Jose Mourinho.
Back in March, the Red Devils were flying. They were smashing oppositions of the highest calibre to pieces. Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea and PSG were all beaten during the honeymoon period of Solskjaer’s reign.
And then Woodward changed his mind. In March, days after the club had lost to Wolves in April, he made the announcement.
“More than just performances and results, Ole brings a wealth of experience, both as a player and as a coach, coupled with a desire to give young players their chance and a deep understanding of the culture of the club,” he said.
Woodward thought he had got it right. United fans, finally, thought their vice-executive chairman had finally made a good decision.
But he didn’t. Results worsened and the storm never blew over.
United were abysmal towards the end of the Premier League season. Not just bad – but really, really bad.
Suddenly, the same players who had helped overcome both England and Europe’s elite were being shredded by Everton at Goodison Park. Beaten by Cardiff on the final day of the season.
Woodward’s announcement damaged United’s season, make no mistake about it. Players eased off. They had done enough.
But it has also wrecked their transfer plans.
So far, United have landed two players. Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have potential in abundance. Their arrivals have been well-received among fans.
But Solskjaer’s summer would be looking a lot different had United finished in the top four.
The Red Devils were convinced Jadon Sancho was on his way. Solskjaer believed he would arrive from Borussia Dortmund as the exciting face of his Old Trafford era.
But then came the slump, and suddenly Sancho wasn’t so keen.
His friends have been trying to persuade him to join while they party away but their words are likely to fall on deaf ears. A player of the England international’s calibre doesn’t want to sacrifice Champions League football, not even for one single season.
Harry Maguire is wanted but he prefers Manchester City. If United had finished in the top four, his pinings to work under Pep Guardiola may not be so strong.
Likewise other targets. Youri Tielemans is so enthused by Leicester’s interest he’s willing to sign on the dotted line.
That’s despite United telling him they may make a move for him if they lose Paul Pogba to Real Madrid.
Christian Eriksen wants Real Madrid over the Red Devils, despite potentially being a Pogba replacement.
And it’s all because of Woodward, Solskjaer and that announcement back in March.
Had United waited, their winning run may have continued. The Wolves defeat was a blow but it appeared, at the time, to be a rare off day.
But Woodward announcing Solskjaer inadvertently cost them a place in the top four. And now, it’s making their transfer window far harder than they thought it would be.