'We've got a great challenge ahead' - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer suggests star names could leave United this summer
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hinted that talks are already at an advanced stage over potential summer signings, as he admitted some of his current first team players are set to play their final game for the club on Sunday.
United will conclude a disappointing season by hosting Cardiff at Old Trafford on Sunday, with Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera, Juan Mata and Romelu Lukaku among the big names being linked with a move away from the club last summer.
While Solskjaer would not be drawn on names of potential incomings or outgoings in his final pre-season press conference of the season, the Norwegian confirmed the winds of change will sweep through the club in the next couple of months.
"There are players whose contracts have run out, some players will definitely come in, some young players will come in," he confirmed, as he refused to be drawn on reports that Swansea winger Daniel James is close to sealing a move to United.
"We have worked since I came in with the club, recruitment. We have identified some players who we think will fit the squad, our squad, Let's hope we can get some over the line.
"You never know in football. it might be your last game, it might be the start of some careers as well. We've had some young players knocking on the door all season, we will be starting with some of the kids as well.
"Next season, we have got to close that gap. If we manage to get to February or March (in title race) then fantastic. (Cristiano) Ronaldo was never ready-made, (Wayne) Rooney never was. Loads of players come here and then develop into the top superstars they become.
"We know as staff and players that next season we've got a great challenge ahead. It's going to be important that we come together from the very first day. Pre-season is going to be important."
Solskjaer went on to suggest it is harder to engineer success for United now than it was when he was in his prime as a player, after a week that saw four English teams reach the final of Europe's two major competitions in a season that could see Manchester City finish with a domestic treble.
"It is not like when I used to play, us or Arsenal would win the league," he stated. "Now it is a very competitive competition and that tells us that it is going to be a great challenge. We want to get back to where we sued to be. Next season we've got a great challenge ahead. Of course it is big."
Solskjaer also confirmed that his assistant Mike Phelan has been handed a three-year contract to remain at the club, with Solskjaer delighted to announce the news.
"I think he's fantastic at his job as assistant manager and I'm very pleased that finally they've agreed," he added. "I've been a player under him and his knowledge, experience, his demeanour, everyone in the club enjoys speaking to him talking to him discussing football with him. Players really respect him, they know what he can do and he has worked with the best.
"For me, I'm a young manager - I still feel I'm young anyway - and Mick's got more experience in a few areas that I haven't."