Mame takes Solskjaer road
HE nurtured and sold a future Old Trafford legend to United and now Age Hareide believes the Reds have another gem from Molde in the making. Ex-City defender Hareide was boss at the Norwegian club in the 90s when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's goals attracted United's attention. The 23-year-old arrived as an unknown for £1.5m in 1996 and became a European Cup-winning goal hero. On Solskjaer's advice, Sir Alex Ferguson returned to Norway last summer to plunder Molde's latest strike sensation. Senegalese forward Mame Biram Diouf was snapped up and loaned back for the Norwegian season which ended in November. A January work permit was granted and the 22-year-old made his first appearance for United for nine minutes against Birmingham City last Saturday. His brief cameo at St Andrews was hampered by Darren Fletcher's red card that forced Fergie to scrap his plans operating with the newcomer as a partner to Wayne Rooney. Instead Diouf had a lone role. Fourteen years ago Solskjaer's impact was instant, scoring an Old Trafford equaliser against Blackburn Rovers after coming on eight minutes earlier. And though Hareide, who played for the Blues in the 80s and now manages Viking FK, believes Diouf has the potential to be a United star, he might take a bit more time to impose himself. "First and foremost there is no doubt in my mind that Mame has the potential to climb the ladder and he has the ability to survive and cut it on the Premier League stage," Age told M.E.N. Sport. "It doesn't surprise me United have bought him because they have a great eye for a young player. United have done well again to see the potential in the guy. Diouf potential "He is good raw material and there is no better place for him to be in terms of getting the chance to build on that and there is no better manager than Sir Alex Ferguson to bring out the best in him. There is more pressure on him now than when Ole Gunnar went to United. Solskjaer was an unknown and so the fans didn't expect much of him. "But because of him and the Molde connection the supporters might be anticipating something special from day one. "Ole had a goalscoring capacity. It was his speciality and if you kick off with a goal then it makes headlines and fans take to you. "Mame is a different forward to Solskjaer. United fans shouldn't expect the new Ole. He is not a natural goalscorer so it will be harder for him. "But he has terrific speed. The game is so different now to the 90s when Ole went to Old Trafford. It is quicker and Mame's athleticism is great for the modern game. "He's scored goals in Norway but he's going to have to work on that side of his game in England." Progress Between 2007 and 2009 after signing for Molde from Dakar-based Senegalese side Diaraf, Diouf scored 29 goals in 63 league matches and added another four in 12 appearances in the season just ended. But Hareide insists United's new import won't shy away from the practise ground in a bid to progress. "Like Ole, Mame is a great character. He's a lovely lad and has a great willingness to work hard. He will listen and learn," added Age. "You need to be strong in the head to compete at Manchester United because there are so many very good players at the club and there is a pressure to perform "But mentally that won't bother Mame. He'll get the best guidance in the world under Sir Alex and he will make good use of it because he wants to get better and is prepared to put the hours in. "Diouf can create and make chances. He's unselfish for a goalscorer and will work to help anyone on the pitch. "The area he needs to work on is his finishing technique. Ole had great technique and he always knew that it was no use waiting for the next chance to come along you had to do your best to convert the first one. He was clinical and that's why he scored so many. "Mame needs to become sharper and more selfish in the box. It is great creating chances but when you are a United striker it is no use creating many and scoring few. His goal output will need to be higher. He needs to build his reputation as a scorer. "You cannot switch off or have a bad day in the red shirt because you will lose your place. I think that pressure and intensity will help his game." What are you expecting of Diouf? Have your say.
Related Manchester United News