Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking to make as many as six new signings for Manchester United over the next two transfer windows after a report claimed he believed his squad needs wholesale improvements.
According to a report in The Times, Solskjaer has told executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward the club are going to need wholesale changes across the next two transfer windows if they are to try and close the gap on Premier League leaders Liverpool and ‘noisy neighbours’ Manchester City.
The vast gaps between the two cross-city rivals was ruthlessly exposed on Tuesday evening as City eased to a 3-1 Carabao Cup semi-final first leg success over United to put them in touching distance of a third successive final, with Kevin De Bruyne putting the boot in regarding the ease in which the Red Devils were overcome.
And with Woodward, Solskjaer and the club’s legendary boss Sir Alex Ferguson watching on in horror, it served to highlight the ruthless squad surgery needed to help elevate United back into the higher echelons.
According to reports, Solskjaer’s immediate priority is to find a new midfielder, with injuries to Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba ruthlessly exposing their threadbare options in the centre of the park.
One man who had been touted as a possible remedy to Man Utd’s midfield ailments was Dutch midfield star Donny van de Beek.
With the future of Paul Pogba far from certain and a move for Leicester City’s James Maddison seemingly off the table, the prospect of acquiring 22-year-old Van de Beek came into focus.
A recent article revealed that hopes were high of a move after the Amsterdam club were reportedly looking to raise funds after their early Champions League elimination.
Speaking to Voetbal International (via the Sun) , the £50million-rated man said: “I don’t want to leave during the winter break.
“I play here all season, I finish at Ajax this year. That gives me clarity and tranquillity. I will see what happens next.”
However, it’s suggested United believe a significant offer could tempt Ajax to sell and it’s reported an offer of £50m could be submitted in the coming days.
There were signs that the Dutch superstar would consider a switch in a future window, however, raising hope that the Red Devils could go back in down the line.
“Maybe someday in my career it will happen that I switch clubs during the winter break, but now I don’t like it,” said Van de Beek.
Solskjaer is also keen to add a new striker to his ranks and that will also form one of the club’s priorities over the remainder of the January window.
While the club continue to be linked with Red Bull Leipzig star Timo Werner, reports on Thursday morning suggested a possible approach for Napoli star Arkadiusz Milik could be on the cards.
However, United’s priority is believed to be Moussa Dembele with the striker seen as the more obtainable target and one for whom the Red Devils have maintained a long watching brief.
Reports on Thursday morning claimed Chelsea had taken a significant step forwards in pursuit of the France U21 striker having agreed personal terms over a move, but that is unlikely to hinder United who could yet match their offer and despite a warning from Lyon that they don’t want to sell.
As well as Van den Beek and Dembele, Solskjaer remains keen to add Jadon Sancho to his ranks, though any deal for the £90m-rated Borussia Dortmund man is expected to wait until the summer.
Solskjaer also wants to add more midfield creativity to his side and the club will look to add one of James Maddison or Jack Grealish at the end of the season, while Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen represents another option on a possible free transfer after a decision was made over a January pursuit.
Solskjaer is also said to want another centre-half to come in as a long-term partner for Harry Maguire, while a new left-back is not out of the question amid talk of Ashley Young’s impending move to Inter Milan and long-term doubts over the form of Luke Shaw.
TalkSPORT host and United fan Andy Goldstein, however, believes the club’s problems are too big to fix in two windows.
He said: “We are trying to get players like Jack Grealish, like Declan Rice, like James Maddison, like Jadon Sancho to join this team. One or two of them won’t make a difference – United need five, six or seven players!
“I don’t know how to fix it, but it can’t be fixed in one window, it can’t be fixed in two – I think you are looking at a minimum of three transfer windows.
“You are probably looking at three or maybe even four windows just to start competing, and when you get to that in a year-and-a-half/two years’ time, everyone else will all be that much further on.
“I think this is a really sad, sad time for Manchester United fans, and for Manchester United as a club.”