He also discussed some of the club’s other transfer targets, lamenting that they couldn’t be signed.
“It was a decision that was very difficult to turn down and I felt we had to take it, but it turned out wrong,” the former Manchester United coach told The Athletic when discussing the signing of the Portuguese.
“It felt so right when he signed and the fans felt that at that Newcastle game, when Old Trafford was rocking.
“He was still one of the best goalscorers in the world, he was looking strong.
“Then, things went against us.”
The Norwegian discussed the squad in general and, without naming anybody, he expressed some criticism.
“Some weren’t as good as their own perception of themselves,” he said.
“I won’t name names, but I was very disappointed when a couple turned down the chance to be captain.
“I was also disappointed when others said they wouldn’t play or train because they wanted to force their way out.
“There was stuff in the media after I left about how I treated some players, which were complete lies, but I had a solid, honest relationship with most of them.”
The signings Solskjaer wanted but couldn’t get
During the interview, Solskjaer also revealed how he wanted to sign several players, like Jude Bellingham, Erling Haaland and Harry Kane, but that they weren’t able to be brought in.
“We couldn’t buy the players I mentioned to the club,” Solskjaer revealed.
“There was Erling Haaland, before he made his Salzburg debut, or Declan Rice, who wouldn’t have cost what he did in the summer.
“We discussed Moises Caicedo, but we felt we needed players ready for there and then.
“We wanted Jude Bellingham badly.
“I would have signed Kane every day of the week and my understanding was that he wanted to come, but the club didn’t have the budget with the financial constraints from COVID-19. There was no bottomless pit.”