Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits Manchester United’s transfer window has not gone as planned as they endeavour to strengthen the squad before deadline day.
United are prepared to invest a British record fee for Sancho, 20, but have no intention of meeting Borussia Dortmund’s €120million valuation with an up-front fee. The club passed on the chance to sign Real Madrid pair Sergio Reguilon and Gareth Bale, and Thiago Alcantara’s move to Liverpool fueled outrage among United fans oblivious to the fact he was never a United target this summer.
The club retain interest in a back-up centre forward, a centre-back and a left-back but moves for players occupying those positions could be parked until next year as United currently have a 31-man squad.
Solskjaer stressed at the end of last season United needed to strengthen their squad depth but the best case scenario is increasingly looking like one more signing, with the right wing regarded as their priority.
“When we sit down and we discuss and we have plans, sometimes it doesn’t happen as planned,” Solskjaer said. “Life isn’t a straight line here. Sometimes things happen. I’ve always said, these players, I’m very happy to work with them.
“Of course, I’m not going to take anything away from from them either, because we have to go into this season confident with how we did towards the end of the season. We need that consistency, of course, to start with. That’s key.
“And transfers, there’s still a few weeks left on the transfer window. It might happen that we get someone in. I work with a club and they know what I feel this team and the squad needs. Let’s see if we can add to what we have.
“But the ones who are here, they’ve really taken a step forward and done themselves good favours to be in the squad moving forward.
“Of course I want players in the building that we want to work with and who want to be a part of it, and who want to be here. One, you need the quality on the pitch. You also need the personal qualities and to really want to be here, and you need to show that you want to be here. That’s really important for us as a group, that we move forward.
“It’s not as big a pool as for other clubs, because part of Man United and being good enough is one thing. Then you’ve got another club that probably want to keep that type of player of that quality. My focus is us, of course.
“You see other clubs and what they do, they put a challenge up for us. Our response has to be results. That’s the response. We can be the best at the things that don’t cost anything. The culture here, the training, the coaching, getting fitter.
“But yeah, we’re looking at a small pool of players that can add to the quality of our team, and let’s see what we can can do. They are working hard and I understand that they are working hard.
“I think you can’t ignore the impact of the coronavirus, no. I think that’s really changed the market. It has been more or less in a period that maybe negotiations will happen. Of course, the financial uncertainty of that has added to the difficulty of predicting where we’re at.
“You want always to have as long as possible with players. I think last season though shows that good players can adapt and get into a group quickly. Harry [Maguire] came in very late in the transfer window and had a great impact on the performances in the team.”