Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes he needs five players this summer for his side to mount a title challenge next term.
The Norwegian has signed four players – Bruno Fernandes, Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James – since he was appointed permanent boss in March 2019 and the quartet have proved astute acquisitions.
However, Solskjaer has discarded of the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Chris Smalling, Antonio Valencia, Marouane Fellaini, Romelu Lukaku, Matteo Darmian and Ander Herrera.
Those departures, though seen as beneficial for the club, have left United weakened in terms of squad depth and that’s been highlighted in the last four matches where Solskjaer has largely relied on the same starting XI despite four matches in nine days.
United need a point in Sunday’s clash against Leicester to confirm a Champions League spot next season and that would boost Solskjaer’s transfer budget this summer, which has already been hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Telegraph, Solskjaer and his assistant Mike Phelan earmarked nine signings at the start of their tenure that the club would need to make to compete at the top again.
After four signings in the last 12 months, Solskjaer wants a right winger, a centre forward, a central midfielder, a centre-back and a left-back to complete his overhaul.
Of those five, Solskjaer feels a right winger, a centre-back and a central midfielder are the priority this summer but he will push as far as he can to complete his plan all at once.
Jadon Sancho is United’s foremost target this summer, while Solskjaer is still assessing options for a long-term centre-back partner for Harry Maguire.
Jack Grealish, the Aston Villa captain, refused to commit his future to the club after their 1-0 win against Arsenal on Tuesday and Solskjaer is known to be keen on the 24-year-old.
Solskjaer’s budget will be decided by United’s end of season results. A failure to land a Champions League spot would dent United’s revenues, Solskjaer’s budget and the club’s appeal to their transfer targets.
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