For the next few weeks one topic of conversation will likely dictate much of the conversation between Manchester United fans.
Was the past season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer really one of progress?
Defeat in the Europa League final to La Liga side Villarreal certainly left a sour taste in the mouth only days after finishing the Premier League campaign unbeaten away from home, but for every positive there seems one negative to counterbalance it.
An important thing to clarify is that ‘progress’ and ‘success’ are both very different words. Winning a major European trophy would have been an undeniable piece of progress after three trophyless seasons, but again that does not necessarily equate to success for a club of such magnitude.
Ultimately the decision will come down to those in charge of the club, the indication is that Solskjaer has not only shown ‘progress’ but he has done enough to soon be rewarded with a new deal.
It’s a rather unique situation United find themselves in compared with other clubs. Sure, the Norwegian coach has done well to bring harmony back to Old Trafford and ultimately fulfil his initial brief of ‘putting smiles back on faces’, but is there any real need to rush things with a new contract this summer?
Given his past experiences both as a United great and an inexperienced manager there isn’t really any threat of him ever being poached by a rival club, nor is there any particular rush to extend his tenure occupying the job he has dreamed of having for well over a decade.
The cards are all in United’s hands this summer – which makes their decision just that little bit trickier
While a portion of fans will demand managerial change amid concerns Liverpool, Chelsea and even possibly Tottenham could overtake them next season, United are keen to find stability and move away from their recent reputation of a club which is happy to indulge in the modern manager merry-go-round.
A new contract for Solskjaer would be yet another public demonstration of the belief in him as manager, while such backing could also be a crucial negotiating tool in the summer window when trying to convince possible new recruits to buy into their long-term vision for the club.
Alternatively a new deal could be viewed as a needless expense when he still has a year left on his current contract and is yet to unanimously prove his worth as the man who can guide United back to the top.
The manner of the defeat to Villarreal six days ago has once again ignited the debate about Solskjaer’s suitability to the managerial role, now the club has a big decision to make regarding their long-term plan.
A new deal would certainly provide clarity ahead of a summer of uncertainty, but it could also be viewed as a needlessly safe decision at a time when the manager has not yet proven his trophy-winning credentials.