Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits further Manchester United signings will be a ‘bonus’
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says further signings will be a “bonus” following summer deals for Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, while the Manchester United boss says his talks with Paul Pogba have been positive.
Having finished second in the Premier League and Europa League last season, the Red Devils made a pair of impressive moves to bolster the squad.
United finally got their hands on Sancho, with the winger’s £73million switch from Borussia Dortmund swiftly followed by striking a deal with Real Madrid for long-standing target Varane.
There remains work to do but the noises out of Old Trafford continue to suggest that further acquisitions would be dependent on summer sales – something Solskjaer appears braced for.
“Anything from now is a bonus,” United manager Solskjaer said when asked about further signings before the deadline.
“I have to say that with the two signings we’ve got, we’ve strengthened where we wanted to strengthen.
“Let’s see what happens. You never know in football. Anything can happen, ins and outs.”
United still have a lot of decisions to make before the month is out.
Pogba’s future is a topic that is sure to dominate, with Paris St Germain strongly linked to a player who is out of contract at Old Trafford next summer.
“I hope every player thinks this is the place to be to win trophies,” Solskjaer said.
“When you sign for Manchester United, you have to rise to the challenge.
“Paul has come back and he’s fresh and he’s always such a positive boy. The talks I’ve had with him have all been positive.”
Speculation is sure to rumble on as United looked to push for their first league crown since 2013, with Solskjaer speaking about incoming players needing the “character” to match their ability.
Asked if that need to get is why it is important to be patient in the transfer market, like they were in pursuit of Sancho, Solskjaer said: “Definitely, and that’s what the club and the owners have been very good at as well.
“We had an open dialogue where we said, OK, if we didn’t get him there’s no point for me signing someone we don’t want when, Jadon for example, when he becomes available again we can go and get him.
“If we had signed someone else then we would have had a right winger. It’s about getting the right characters.
“I think we proved that last year with Edinson (Cavani). Bringing Edi in was so important and he’s shown the way for many.”
Veteran Cavani arrived with a fair amount of rust last October, with the deadline-day signing joining during a poor United start to the season.
Solskjaer knows they can ill afford such stutters this time, which he is keeping in mind as speculation continues over the likes of Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira and Diogo Dalot.
“We need a big squad,” the United manager said. “The start is important, the whole season is important, but you need to arrive in April and May fresh and with enough options.
“Some might go on loan until Christmas, some might go for a season but I don’t want to be too light in any position.”
Solskjaer hopes to have Sancho and Varane, who has yet to do his medical, on the bench for the season opener against Leeds next weekend, when Solskjaer’s choice of goalkeeper will be interesting.
Tom Heaton joined this summer to bolster a goalkeeping group led by David De Gea and Dean Henderson, with the pair preparing for another season battling for the number-one spot.
“It depends on the characters you’ve got and how they gel,” Solskjaer said of the goalkeeping situation. “It’s healthy competition.
“If you’re too comfortable, I don’t think you get the best out of yourself.
“You need an edge and you need an edge of ‘if I don’t perform, someone else is going to take my place’ but it has to be healthy for the team and healthy for the group. If it’s toxic and it’s energy-sapping that’s not great.
“Last year it was a new situation for David and a new situation for Dean. This year, let’s see how it works out.”
Henderson missed this week’s training camp in Scotland as he recovers from Covid-19, having become the latest United player to test positive.
The PA news agency understands that the Premier League are not mandating coronavirus vaccination as they follow Government guidance, with Solskjaer saying United will hold a session with players to discuss the vaccine.
“Yeah, we’ve informed them and some of them are already fully vaccinated, some are not sure,” the Norwegian added.
“But we’re going to have a bigger session with them now because I think it’s important that everyone knows what it’s about.”