Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed that Jadon Sancho is in line for his Manchester United debut as the Premier League season starts, but was less clear-cut about the futures of Raphael Varane, Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba.
Man Utd will get their season underway with a match against Leeds at Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime. After finishing as runners up in the Premier League and Europa League last season, Solskjaer’s side will be hoping to make further progress over the coming months to restore the glory days. But the hard work is only just about to begin.
The season opener against Leeds will be an exciting spectacle as two old rivals go head to head again. The same fixture last season was a 6-2 win for the hosts.
Man Utd have since added Jadon Sancho to their squad and there are hopes he could make his debut. However, fellow imminent arrival Raphael Varane will not be involved, because his transfer from Real Madrid is not yet complete.
Despite the other delay, Solskjaer confirmed that Sancho was in contention to feature and has in fact exceeded his expectations in terms of his sharpness.
“Jadon is going to be involved definitely,” he told a pre-match press conference. “Good week, but was ill after his holiday.
“He has looked sharper than expected. Can’t tell you if he is going to start though.”
As for Varane, the manager said: “He hasn’t trained with us. Things take time.
“Not 100 per cent done yet. He won’t be involved because he has not trained with us.
“The big hold up was the quarantine and the isolation – it will be done soon.”
While the focus has been on signings for United recently, there has been speculation about some players leaving. Anthony Martial is one who is facing an uncertain future.
Solskjaer’s response about Martial’s future was very open, though.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if other teams targeted Anthony because he is a very good player,” he said.
“Back strong and hungry to prove his quality. You can see that grit between his teeth again, he is up for the challenge. We are happy that we have him.”
Solskjaer press conference includes Pogba update
An even more pressing issue for United to resolve is the future of Paul Pogba. The midfielder enjoyed a strong end to last season and had a positive personal experience at Euro 2020 with France, despite their relatively early exit.
Now in the final year of his contract, Pogba is yet to commit his future to the club despite reportedly being open to staying.
United would be wary of losing him for a second time on a free transfer again. However, Solskjaer insists things are heading in the right direction and is confident Pogba will still be wearing the red shirt this season.
“He is a Man Utd player, one year left on contract.
“It’s been spoken and written about so often. Every discussion I’ve had with Paul is a positive one, he knows what we want and hopefully he keeps on in the background and they make decisions.
“It’ll always be like with this with Paul, he’s a media magnet.”