Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has ruled out a summer of inactivity on the transfer front because he thinks Manchester United are “too far behind” and says he is planning for “two or three” signings.
United will bring their season to a close against Wolves on Sunday with a very respectable second-placed finish already assured. But while Jose Mourinho publicly championed the runners-up medal in 2017/18, Solskjaer wants more. The Norwegian made that clear earlier this month: “The competition now is a lot harder than when I was a player. Three, four, maybe five teams that can challenge for the top two positions,” he said.
“For the last few years they have been taken by the same two teams and for us to go into them and divide them it’s good, it’s a good performance but we can’t say it’s an achievement, it’s not an achievement.”
Solskjaer was asked about the club’s transfer plans for the coming window, saying: “We’re planning as we normally do. It’s not like end of season and let’s see what we do, that’s an ongoing process.
“We are looking at the squad, the players who are going to stay, those who might be leaving and I hope that we’re going to strengthen with a few.. two or three players that we definitely need to challenge higher up in the table.
“We’re still too far behind to think it is just going to come by itself.”
A new centre-back, central midfielder and a right wing have been touted as the positions that United are looking at.
Jadon Sancho, Harry Kane, Raphael Varane, Pau Torres, Declan Rice are just a few of the names bandied around recently.
There will be some movement out of the club too, although Solskjaer does not envisage huge changes.
Jesse Lingard, Diogo Dalot, Andreas Pereira, and James Garne will all return from loan spells. So decisions will have to be made on their futures, while Lingard and Paul Pogba are out of contract in 2022.
Goalkeepers Sergio Romero and Joel Pereira are set to be released when their contracts expire at the end of June. And Diogo Dalot, Andreas Pereira and Phil Jones could finally leave.
Mata future talks
Solskjaer said: “We’re talking to Juan, we’ve had good dialogue, good discussions and that dialogue will continue. Let’s see what he wants to do at the end of the season.
“He’s such a top professional, a very good player. It’s hard for me not to play him more than I have done. There have been circumstances this season, personal issues that made him less available but still he is a top player. That decision will be made after the season is finished.
“We’ve had a few players on loan that might come back in, there is interest in a few others going out but you want to come out of the transfer window strengthened.
“It might be we allow some players to go out and gain experience and come back stronger from it later on. Apart from that it’s difficult to say, I can’t see too many outgoings.”