Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is reportedly still hopeful of signing Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho despite being ‘frustrated’ by Manchester United’s transfer activity this summer.
Man United once again endured a disappointing summer of recruitment with a deadline day splurge having failed to paper over the cracks of a board that has failed to deliver once more, a summer long pursuit of Borussia Dortmund’s Sancho failing to result in his marquee arrival with the club’s negotiation tactics having been criticised by the Bundesliga side.
Dortmund set out their stall early and provided United with their clear demands and deadline for a deal to be struck, only for the Old Trafford hierarchy to baffling try and out manoeuvre one of Europe’s best ran football clubs and miss out on the deal.
Frustrations surrounding the club’s transfer window have only intensified following a dreadful start to the Premier League season, the Red Devils languishing in 16th-place in the top-flight after winning just one of their opening three fixtures, including an embarrassing 6-1 home defeat to Tottenham before the international break.
According to ESPN, the club’s difficulty in securing primary targets has not dampened optimism regarding the signings of Dortmund duo Haaland and Sancho, however, with Solskjaer remaining keen on two of world football’s finest young players despite missing out in recent windows.
It is perhaps a staggering stance given the club’s inability to previously sign both players despite facing little competition from Europe’s elite, a free run at Sancho failing to result in the England international moving to Old Trafford this summer.
The Sancho deal looks to many as a missed opportunity with several of world football’s biggest clubs – uncharacteristically cautious in a pandemic-impacted market this summer – set to provide competition next year.
The prospect of the 20-year-old choosing a transitional United side over a team ready-made to compete for the game’s biggest prizes looks hugely unlikely, whilst persuading Haaland to move to Manchester also appears ambitious given the progress the forward has made in German football.
Solskjaer previously worked alongside Haaland at Molde and thought a deal was close last winter, only for United to turn down the opportunity to sign the Norwegian amid concerns over agent fees and the insistence on a release clause in his contact.
It proved an ill-advised decision in sporting terms with the teenager having scored 44 goals in all competitions last season, whilst he has netted a phenomenal 21 goals in 23 appearances since moving to Dortmund from Red Bull Salzburg in January.
United’s failings in the market have seen them turn to alternative targets with midfielder Donny van de Beek reportedly not amongst Solskjaer’s list of leading targets, whilst their deadline day splurge on Alex Telles, Edinson Cavani and teenagers Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo looks like desperation as opposed to any form of calculated planning.
Solskjaer may have grand plans of attracting the world’s best young talent to Old Trafford in the coming windows, though planning too far ahead looks naive given the club’s current on-field fortunes.
The Norwegian may have his hands largely tied by an incompetent board, but he is increasingly looking like a manager out of his depth at this level, and links to former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino look set to intensify in the coming weeks and months.