Football News

Solskjaer admits Man Utd summer transfer failings – we couldn’t get the one we wanted

By Ben Green

Published: 18:00, 30 September 2019

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has conceded Manchester United tried but failed to sign an adequate successor to Romelu Lukaku over the summer.

The Red Devils parted ways with Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to Inter Milan in August but were unsuccessful in bringing a new striker to Old Trafford.

Man Utd’s summer window: Five things to know…

  • Man Utd signed three high-profile players over the summer: Harry Maguire (£80m), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£45m) and Daniel James (£15m).
  • Solskjaer placed an emphasis on shoring up his backline, making Maguire the most expensive defender of all time.
  • Among those to leave were strike duo Lukaku and Sanchez.
  • A number of names were bandied about as possible replacements including Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic.
  • But, Solskjaer has now admitted that while strikers were available to sign over the summer, he could not find the right one.

That inefficiency in the window has now been accentuated by the recent injuries to Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood.

Such has been the No. 9 crisis enveloping United this season that Jesse Lingard was forced to play up front during the 2-0 defeat to West Ham the Sunday before last.

And while Solskjaer has been quick to outline United’s intentions to sign a striker as soon as possible, the Norwegian insists he must be “100%” certain the player fits the blueprint of the club, which was not forthcoming over the summer.

He said: “We’re looking for some creativity and goals, but they (potential signings) have to be the right one.

“There were strikers available but not the ones we wanted. We couldn’t get the one we wanted (in the summer).

“There’s no point getting players in that you are not 100% sure about either.

“When you get players in, you need the right ones that are going to stay here for a long period of time and that’s the long-term thinking we have to show.”

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‘Lukaku didn’t want to be here’

It was a busy summer for United both in terms of incomings and outgoings, with United making Harry Maguire the most expensive defender in the world, as well as splurging £45m on Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Among the high-profile transfers that took place at United was also Lukaku, who completed a £70m move to Inter Milan at the beginning of August, which was shortly followed by Sanchez’s season-long loan move to the Serie A club.

Sanchez’s time at Old Trafford has no doubt been seen as an unmitigated disaster, while Lukaku never truly found his stride in the North West, and Solskjaer has now revealed that he had to let the Belgian leave because he didn’t want to play for the club anymore.

He said: “It was time for Romelu Lukaku to go, though – he knows that, he didn’t want to be here, and what’s the point in having players who don’t want to be here?”