Manchester United need 'one or two or more' signings this summer to close gap on Liverpool, says Solskjaer

James Robson
Evening Standard
Getty Images
Getty Images

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has issued a message to Ed Woodward – insisting the next transfer window will be vital to Manchester United’s chances of knocking Liverpool off their perch.

The Norwegian fully endorsed Gary Neville’s comments this week, when the pundit insisted United needed to make a number of high quality signings if they had any ambitions of challenging for the Premier League title.

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Solskjaer admits a 15-game unbeaten run doesn’t mask the gap to Liverpool and Manchester City – and echoed Woodward’s own words in January when claiming it would be an “important summer” for the club.

The financial impact of coronavirus has placed uncertainty over United’s spending power – particularly their ability to sign top target Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund.

But Solskjaer made it clear this will be a crucial window for his side.

“Gary is right in a lot of things he says and of course we cannot think we’re there,” said the United manager. “If you look at the table, we’re nowhere near where we should be. Consistency has to be improved and we still have to improve on many aspects of the game.

“I don’t know how many points we’re behind the top two, but Gary’s right - there’s definitely not going to be any complacency and thinking, ‘We’ve cracked it’ because we’ve got so much to do.

Sancho remains a top target. (Getty Images)
Sancho remains a top target. (Getty Images)

“It’s an enjoyable journey. We can see improvements but, yes, we need to make one or two - or more - very good decisions. It’s going to be an important summer, definitely.”

Solskjaer wants to make at least three major signings, but already looks to have missed out on one target in Jude Bellingham, who is believed to be on his way to Borussia Dortmund.

He still wants the club to back him in a move for Sancho, even if United are reluctant to spend over £70million on any signings as they count the cost of Covid-19.

Jack Grealish is also wanted, while Donny van de Beek continues to be monitored.

Solskjaer added: “It’s going to be a strange transfer window and I don’t expect a lot of big transfers maybe. I don’t know.

But they seem set to miss out on Bellingham. (Getty Images)
But they seem set to miss out on Bellingham. (Getty Images)

“We don’t really know how the market is going to be. For us as a team, club and staff, we need to work really well. It’s about the consistency.

“I’m not just talking about decisions off the field - it’s also here in and around the training ground.”

Solskjaer is yet to put a foot wrong with his recruitment in his two windows in charge, with Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Bruno Fernandes proving transformative signings.

He says he will stick to those principles as he continues his rebuild.

“You have a certain DNA and identity when you play for Man United or work for Man United,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re in the canteen or laundry or in admin or on the pitch, you’ve got to be a certain type of character for me.

“I’m very old school in my values. I’m not going to rant and rave. I’d rather open the door or close the door. Either in or out.

“Players who want to sign, if they don’t feel right as a person you close the door. Players who are inside who don’t feel right and don’t want to contribute to the team ethos and have the betterment of the team at heart then you open the door and let them leave. It’s a constant process.”

Missing out on Birmingham starlet Bellingham would be a major blow to Solskjaer’s planning and the club’s attempts to sign more emerging talent.

Solskjaer wouldn’t comment specifically on the 17-year-old, but did address the trend of young players heading to Germany to further their careers.

“Any young player needs to make a decision they’re comfortable with - where can he make an impact,” he said. “If you’re 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, they’re important decisions for them.

“We’ve got some examples of players taking a chance, moving away from big clubs to smaller clubs and it hasn’t worked. That’s a chance, a risk they take, instead of being in the club they’ve gone through. Some players do really well.”

United are now three points off Leicester in third place, with the side due to meet on the final day of the season.

That could prove to be a Champions League decider and Solskjaer expects the top four to go down to the wire, with both Chelsea and Wolves also facing each other.

“I think the last round is going to be vital,” he said. “You’ve got Chelsea versus Wolverhampton and us against Leicester - so there might be a three point advantage for us or for Leicester and it’s still an important game.

“I can’t see the difference between us and Leicester being a lot more than three points either way, the same with Chelsea and Wolverhampton. So it’s looking exciting, it’s a short space of time.

“So many games so lots of things can happen, but yes I think it will go down to the last game.”

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