Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has reiterated the importance of the club strengthening the squad ahead of next season in order to compete with Manchester City, but has revealed that plans are already in progress.
Solskjaer has overseen significant improvement since his squad rebuild began soon after being appointed on a permanent basis in 2019. United are on course to finish second in the Premier League for only the second time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, and could yet end the campaign with a trophy if they beat Villarreal in this month’s Europa League final.
But there is still work to be done to catch up with City – who were crowned champions for the third time in four years on Tuesday night – and mount a first serious title challenge since 2013.
“If you want to take up the challenge with [Man City], we need to strengthen our squad,” Solskjaer told BT Sport after the final whistle blew on United’s 2-1 defeat to Leicester.
“We want to take the next step and it might be that we need a couple more to strengthen the squad,” the United boss added.
When further quizzed about recruitment this summer in the post-match video conference, Solskjaer hinted that United are well underway and have plans in place.
“We have [held meetings], that’s a long process and we know what we want to do,” he is quoted as saying by the Manchester Evening News.
No club in the world has been immune to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic and United are no exception, which has made careful planning more important than ever this year.
The squad needs a striker in the long-term but has had a big boost following Edinson Cavani’s recent decision to sign a one-year extension to his contract. That leaves more time and resources to focus on other key positions, including on the right flank where Jadon Sancho remains a target.
United have also long been in the market for a centre-back, although the noise has somewhat dropped since Eric Bailly signed a new contract, while they also have eyes on new central midfielders in the shape of West Ham’s Declan Rice and Wolves’ Ruben Neves.
Veteran goalkeeper Tom Heaton has also been tipped to re-join on a free transfer to provide depth, with Sergio Romero leaving, Lee Grant now 38 and questions over David de Gea’s future.
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