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Champions League spot key for signing top players - Solskjaer

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Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Photo: PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Photo: PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

AFP via Getty Images

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Photo: PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted Manchester United's hopes of being able to attract top players this summer will improve if they have Champions League football to offer potential recruits.

United travel to Stamford Bridge tonight to face Chelsea knowing the outcome of the game could have a significant bearing on their Champions League aspirations. Although the news of Manchester City's two-season ban from European competition has opened up the possibility of fifth spot in the Premier League being enough to secure Champions League qualification this season, United are under pressure to beat Chelsea.

Whereas victory would move them to within three points of Frank Lampard's side, defeat would leave them nine points adrift of fourth and in a growing battle to finish fifth and increase the pressure on the club to win the Europa League, which offers an alternative route into Europe's elite competition.

Summer

Solskjaer is targeting three to five new players this summer, including a midfielder, wide forward and striker, and says: "The Champions League gives the club more resources, more money, that's one thing. It's a prestigious tournament to be in, of course. Players that we might want are impressed by that, it might be easier to convince them that we're here.

"But I don't think one season, this season is the Europa League, if next season is with or without the Champions League, I wouldn't say that's the be-all and end-all for a player to sign for us."

Odion Ighalo is likely to make his United debut from the bench against Chelsea and Solskjaer has told the Nigeria striker that if he delivers he could earn a permanent deal, even though there is no option for that in the loan deal with Shanghai Shenhua.

"It's a loan, but when you're in the door, and if you impress, it gives you a chance," Solskjaer said. "If you impress as a player, a person, if you can help this group improve, of course there's a chance we'll look at extending things." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk