Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been advised to do all in his power to bring one player to Manchester United if he wants to give himself the best chance of success – even though he may have shatter the club’s transfer record to land the star.
The Red Devils boss has invested heavily since succeeding Jose Mourinho in the hotseat in December 2018. The likes of Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Bruno Fernandes and Jadon Sancho have all cost fees ranging from £49.5m to £80m apiece. And while Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo arrived for £36m and £17.1m each, their sky-high salaries add to an already huge wage structure.
Despite all that, United have failed to win a trophy since 2017 and only have a runners-up place in the Europa League final to show for their efforts.
A 1-1 draw with Everton on Saturday has heaped the pressure on Solskjaer. And while they only trail leaders Chelsea by two points, the club will be left ruing those dropped points and the home defeat to Aston Villa last weekend.
Indeed, United have won just two of their last six games in all competitions. In that time they have also seen another trophy avenue close after defeat to West Ham in the Carabao Cup.
Solskjaer probably didn’t help his cause by admitting how teams were managing to hurt them. There’s clearly a problem there that needs fixing.
It’s all resulted in the pressure being ramped up on the Norwegian coach, who this pundit feels is clueless and needs to be replaced by this world-class coach.
To that end, plans are already underway as to whom they will sign in 2022. And it seems the capture of a new central midfielder will be their No 1 focus.
However, the one man the United boss would probably most like to sign is West Ham’s Declan Rice.
Indeed, United have been on the trail of the midfielder for some time. West Ham, however, remain determined to stand by their £90m valuation for the England man.
And despite that huge asking price, Nigel Winterburn – speaking to Paddy Power – is adamant it’s a fee they need to meet.
“£90million is a huge amount of money for Declan Rice – it’s crazy money, but it’s a fair valuation,” Winterburn said.
“Rice has proved himself recently and enhanced his reputation. There’s been a lot of speculation about him moving but it hasn’t fazed him, and he’s just got on with his job.
“West Ham were successful last season, and until Sunday, they’d had a great start to the season.
“The time will come for him to move on. I’d be amazed if one of the big clubs in the Premier League is not in for him straight away when they realise he’s available.
“Potentially even major clubs abroad too. It depends on what Declan wants to do. But I’d guess he’d want to stay in the Premier League.
“I’m not sure about Manchester City signing him, but whether Manchester United or Chelsea want to move for him. It all depends on his availability and if it’s the right time for the club.”
Winterburn thinks Rice would be a perfect addition for United and claims he could help them enjoy a period of success.
“I can see him suiting United. They’ve got an abundance of attacking talent but are often caught wide open defensively. He would be the perfect fit.”
After a heavy summer of spending though, Solskjaer may need to beg the Glazers to fund what would prove a club-record deal.
“Whether United have got another £90m is another matter,” he added.
Glazers stance on Solskjaer sack emerges
Meanwhile, despite the poor run of results, Fabrizio Romano insists Solskjaer is not in any immediate danger of the sack.
He claims the message coming out of Old Trafford is that ‘nothing has changed’. In addition, he says the Glazers remain “fully committed” to the Norwegian.
Furthermore, there is a willingness coming from United’s owners to back Solskjaer for at least this season. And there remains a belief that Solskjaer can end the club’s five-year trophy wait during the 2021/22 campaign.
They believe he needs time to intergrate their three major summer signings and that, in time, results will improve.
However, failure to deliver a trophy this season will likely see a review of his position next summer.