Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claimed in his first news conference of pre-season in Perth, Australia, that Manchester United are “still in the market and looking to do some business.”
He further insisted that they are patient and that they “don’t have to sell or overpay.”
It is believed that on the back of a seemingly sluggish transfer window, the Norwegian has already earmarked the two most important signings he would prefer should the Reds fail to complete signings of all his desired transfer targets, which is understood to tally up to six.
The Red Devils have already signed 21 year-old duo of Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Swansea City and Crystal Palace respectively, but, OGS wants at least one central defender and a central midfielder, while believing that unsettled French international, Paul Pogba and Inter Milan linked Belgian striker, Romelu Lukaku will stay beyond the 19/20 season.
Leicester has already rebuffed a £70m offer for Harry Maguire, but he is still a target for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
After conceding a record 54 goals in the Premier League last season, signing a solid centre half has always been a priority for the Red Devils and they are ready to push a deal for the England international even if it requires breaking the world record for a defender, the £75m paid by Liverpool for Virgil van Dijk in January 2018.
A number of of midfielders have also been linked to Old Trafford, including Sporting’s Bruno Fernandes, Leicester’s Youri Tielemans and Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, though reported interest in Chelsea’s Tiemoue Bakayoko and Southampton’s Mario Lemina have been declined by reliable sources, for now.
But confirmed sources has revealed that Ole’s major midfield target is Newcastle’s Sean Longstaff, who he believes can fulfil his “young and hungry” profile for players, required for the rebuilding plans.
While rumors continue to swirl around Manchester United’s world class midfielder, Pogba, Ole holds him in high esteem and believes him to be a vital figure of his plans and is reluctant to sanction his sale, despite the fact that Pogba and his agent, Mino Raiola have made no secret of his desire to leave the Theatre of Dreams.
Indeed, the gaffer came to the defence of the under-fire United academy product.
“He is a great, great player,” said the Norwegian. “He’s never been problems, he’s got a heart of gold. Paul’s never been a concern for me. When he’s on the pitch, he’s working hard. He’s a true professional and he’s a proud boy. He’s been fantastic so far in training.”
The Frenchman’s departure will further complicate issues at Old Trafford as a player of his calibre would then have to be replaced, taking the number of departures of midfielders from Old Trafford since the beginning of 2019 to three, after Marouane Fellaini’s move to China in January and Ander Herrera’s free transfer to French champions, PSG.
Furthermore, Inter Milan officials are due to arrive in England this week as they step up talks with Man United over a potential deal for Romelu Lukaku.
Though, the player himself has been behaving very professionally, reporting for pre-season training early, it is understood that he wants to move and United are prepared to sell at the right price.
However, according to The Sun, Solskjaer has pledged with Lukaku to stay for one more season as he fears that vice-chairman Ed Woodward wouldn’t be able to sign a reliable striker to replace the former Everton man.