Wednesday 16 October 2019

Ole’s at the wheel, keen to drive the best deal

Spending smartly is top of the agenda for United boss Solskjaer.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking ahead to the summer (John Walton/PA)
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking ahead to the summer (John Walton/PA)

By Simon Peach, Press Association Chief Football Writer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has vowed to spend smartly as the new Manchester United manager looks to shape his side this summer.

The 46-year-old was given the Old Trafford reins on a permanent basis on Thursday, after impressing as caretaker boss following Jose Mourinho’s sacking.

The ink was barely dry on his three-year deal by the time attention turned to the future, with the United manager underlining the importance of getting the club back where they belong.

The Norwegian knows their domestic and European hopes can only be improved with new faces and discussions were held with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward long before his permanent appointment.

United tend to make three or four signings every summer and Solskjaer has vowed to act intelligently in this ever-inflating transfer market.

“United is a club that has money, and that has to be spent in a reasonable way,” the Red Devils boss told Norwegian media.

Summer signing Fred has struggled to make an impact this season (Martin Rickett/PA)

“People who know me, know that I will use that in a good way.

“We have a plan with the club, they have scouted players for longer than I have been here, and we have players that we need to keep.

“We will not spend money just to spend money.”

Solskjaer hopes to have United’s transfer business wrapped up before their pre-season tour gets under way in Australia in July.

That activity is likely to be impacted by outgoings – questions surround the futures of Juan Mata and Ander Herrera as their contracts edge closer to their expiration this summer.

The latter has been strongly linked with a move to Paris St Germain and Solskjaer clearly wants the Spanish midfielder to stay.

“We want the best players in this club,” he said.

Ander Herrera is out of contract this summer (Adam Davy/PA)

“Let’s hope club and player find an agreement. We will have a strong squad next season. Ander has been very good since I came in.”

Herrera could be involved as Solskjaer kicks off his permanent reign against Watford in Saturday’s Premier League match.

The Norwegian has a number of players to assess before the clash at Old Trafford, where it has been confirmed that the manager will be lining up on May 26.

United are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their treble triumph this summer and Solskjaer has been confirmed as part of the Manchester United Legends squad taking on Bayern Munich Legends.

The striker’s stoppage-time goal sealed victory in the Champions League final at the Nou Camp in 1999, with the match raising funds for the Manchester United Foundation.

“I am delighted to be part of this very special reunion,” he said. “Over the coming weeks I will be training hard to make sure the boss has me in the starting XI this time around!

“In all seriousness, it will be a great match and a chance to catch up with some old team-mates, whilst raising vital funds for our Foundation.”

That match will show why Solskjaer calls United a “unique” and “special” club, just as it will highlight to the current crop how they can be remembered at Old Trafford.

Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford are vital to Manchester United’s future, according to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Dave Thompson/PA)

Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford are the star outfield names nowadays – players that have been linked with moves away and individuals that Solskjaer believes can fulfil their ambitions right where they are.

“I would believe so, that’s our aim as a club to be achieving what we have done in the past and that is the expectations here and of course we are hoping to build a team strong enough worthy of the history of the club,” the Norwegian said.

“Yeah (they are two players we can build on), and you have got loads of players who you can build a team around and those are the two that you asked me about. They are vital for our future.”

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