Manchester United transfer news: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer backtracks on squad depth comments


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has rowed back on his comments suggesting that Manchester United need greater squad depth, despite a transfer window which has only seen one major signing.

Solskjaer said after United’s Europa League semi-final defeat to Sevilla that United needed to strengthen their squad ahead of “a long season” and called on the club to be “good, smart and clever” in the market.

The Norwegian had previously said in April that United may find themselves in a position where they could ‘exploit’ a market affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Since then, United have only completed the £35m signing of Donny van de Beek from Ajax, with no breakthrough in negotiations for their primary transfer target Jadon Sancho.

Nevertheless, Solskjaer claimed that his opinion on squad depth has changed in the time since the Sevilla defeat and he distanced himself from the ‘exploit’ remark.

“I think my wording in lockdown, ‘exploit’, was a bad word by me,” Solskjaer said. “I didn’t mean it in that respect, I meant there might clubs and players out there who have to move because of the situation and it might be something interesting. 

“At the moment we’ve not had the – what’s the word – there’s not been those situations. We’ve lost loads of money, as the other clubs have as well. 

“And when I talk about the squad depth, we’ve got a big squad. Of course the performances last season didn’t warrant me giving too many of them more options because I think the 11, 12, 13 players who played and played well really deserved to play more and that means when you don’t want play you don’t get that fitness and sharpness that you need to knock on the door to get into the team. 

“I think it’s a different scenario now. After two games already I’ve seen many of the players who didn’t play too much last season performing really well.”

Solskjaer refused to discuss transfers in detail but said that the club was working hard to complete any remaining deals before Monday’s deadline.

“When we’re planning, you’ve got players here that we believe in,” he added.

“Of course the transfer window is still open for a little while and the club has been working and they know my view and that’s that we’re here to strengthen it, in the long term as well. 

“I’m not going to say what’s acceptable or not for other clubs in this difficult period. But we’’ll tell you when and if something happens.”

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