The United manager has promised spending at Old Trafford after another disappointing season, he insists there will be fewer than six new arrivals and cited the examples of Marcus Rashford, Diogo Dalot and 17-year-old starlet Mason Greenwood to explain. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said he will not flood the club with new signings this summer because he doesn’t want to block the progress of Manchester United youngsters already at the club.
‘I don’t think you can expect six players coming in – I know there won’t be six players coming in,’ said the Norwegian. ‘We can’t just take players in because we need a body. ‘Mason Greenwood is a player for me – he is 17 and I want to give him the chance to become a top player at this club. ‘It’s the same with Marcus Rashford at 21 and Diogo Dalot at 20. These players are going to get a chance and that is going to affect players who are at the other end of their careers.
‘It means you don’t want too many changes with signings and you have to say to players at the other end of their careers: “I don’t think you’re for me”.’
United’s history has been synonymous with giving young players their chance and Solskjaer will be keen to bring that philosophy back, particularly at a time when rivals Manchester City and Chelsea are criticised for restricting the opportunities for talented teenagers Phil Foden and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Despite a fantastic start to his management, Solskjaer goes to Everton Sunday in sixth position – where they were when Jose Mourinho was sacked in December. In addition, they were comprehensively knocked out of the Champions League 4-0 on aggregate by Barcelona last week. A winger in the mould of England youngster Jadon Sancho is high on United’s priority list with replacements also needed for right-back Antonio Valencia who is leaving and midfielder Ander Herrera who is expected to sign for PSG.
However with Solskjaer wanting to rebuild United step-by-step rather than a summer revolution, it is unlikely the club will allow Real Madrid to take Paul Pogba despite strong interest from Zinedine Zidane.
Pogba failed to stamp his mark on the Barcelona tie and his recent form has led to renewed debate about his best position. Solskjaer said: ‘Everyone has got an opinion on Paul and of course together with him we have sat down and discussed his positioning.’We know he can play a 10, we know he can play a six, we know he can play in probably his preferred position as one of the three in midfield, high like he did for us at the beginning and like he has done with Juventus.
‘With France he has played as one of the two sitters, or one of the two central midfielders, with N’Golo Kante. ‘So that is the great thing with Paul. He can do both and what we have to to do with all the players is adjust to the games, what that game needs. ‘You can see teams now thinking more about what Paul’s position is and trying to stop him in that position.’
Matteo Darmian, Eric Bailly and Juan Mata could also depart for Solskjaer to free up room for his “kids”.’We know it’s going to take a few windows and it’s about culture as well. We have to get a culture where players take ownership themselves. ‘I think the players deserve to get the chance to come in for pre-season and show what they’re capable of. ‘Are they fit enough? Are they hungry enough? Do they want this enough? Do they want to give everything to the team? Or do they think only about themselves?’
After the weekend trip to Goodison, United host Manchester City at Old Trafford in a game that could have huge consequences for the title race – one which Solskjaer hopes United are involved in before too long. Alexis Sanchez and Ander Herrera are in contention to make their Premier League returns from injury with Solskjaer hoping Sanchez can turn his career at Old Trafford around.
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