download All Football App

Solskjaer wants Felix, Koulibaly and Gueye to strengthen Man Utd in the summer

  /  autty

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has concerns about every area of his Manchester United squad – but accepts he will not be able to address all of his issues in one transfer window.

And it's understood there are fears within the dressing room that failure to secure a top four finish will dent United's chances of bringing in top class targets this summer.

Solskjaer's refusal to disagree with Roy Keane's scathing criticism of a group of players who have now lost seven of their last nine matches in all competitions, was indicative of the work he believes is required to challenge Manchester City and Liverpool at the top of the Premier League.

But the consensus within the club is that he will have to hold off making wholesale changes in his first window as permanent manager.

Ander Herrera (below), Juan Mata and Antonio Valencia are all set to leave as free agents, while Marouane Fellaini was sold to Shandong Luneng in January.

Matteo Darmian and Marcos Rojo will also be allowed to leave if reasonable offers are forthcoming.

But those six departures would only scratch the surface in terms of the overhaul required to transform United's fortunes.

Ashley Young's form has taken an alarming downturn since signing a one-year contract extension – and at the age of 33, cannot be expected to hold down his position as first choice right back next season.

Nemanja Matic turns 31 in August and is also in a period of decline.

Fred, meanwhile, has done nothing to justify his £52m transfer last summer and looks like an ill fit in Solskjaer's plans.

The same could be said for Romelu Lukaku, who has seen Marcus Rashford overtake him as Solskjaer's preferred central striker.

The Belgium international was on the bench for Wednesday's derby defeat – and at a cost of £75m is too expensive to be consigned to a substitute's role.

Yet that appears to be his best hope under Solskjaer, who wants more fluidity from his forwards in the form of Rashford, Lingard, Anthony Martial and leading summer target Jadon Sancho.

Portuguese starlet Joao Felix is another player United have expressed a strong interest in, who fits in with a move towards players with excellent technical ability and are capable of attacking at pace.

Replacing Lukaku remains a major issue in terms of the cost of a top quality alternative – even if they would hope to recoup the vast majority, if not all, of the money they paid Everton for the 25-year-old.

His latest comments about his dream to play in Serie A, however, point to a departure sooner, rather than later.

Then there is the Alexis Sanchez-sized cloud hanging over the club, with the Chilean on in excess of £450,000-a-week, but little more than a fringe member of the squad.

While United have been reluctant to call time on the former Arsenal forward – the ultimate decision will be given to Solskjaer as to whether to try to seek a buyer.

But the Norwegian has shown little sign of knowing how best to deploy Sanchez – and it may be preferable to show him the door this summer, rather than Lukaku.

Solskjaer believes six new additions will be too excessive in one window, which almost certainly means there will be more departures than arrivals.

A new right-back has become a priority, with Crystal Palace's Aaron Wan-Bissaka (below) a leading target, while the United's recruitment department has spent two years trying to identify a world class centre-back.

Kalidou Koulibaly has been the long-term candidate – although Napoli's asking price of more than £100m has so far proved prohibitive.

There are signs, however, of Ed Woodward (below) accepting it will take a world record bid to bring in a central defender of the required quality.

Idrissa Gueye is being monitored closely by Solskjaer – and the Everton midfielder only enhanced his reputation among United scouts with his outstanding performance in last weekend's 4-0 win against them.

A potential fee of less than £30m would also appeal in such a busy summer when Solskjaer is expected to spend well in excess of £200m.

Declan Rice (above), who also has admirers at Old Trafford, would be a significantly more expensive option.

Bruno Fernandes (below) of Sporting Lisbon is seen as being able to add goals and creativity in midfield – and relieve some of the pressure on Paul Pogba.

United's lack of goal threat is of particular concern to Solskjaer – especially after a run of 527 minutes without scoring from open play.

That explains his interest in Sancho, who could become the club's record signing if Borussia Dortmund can be persuaded to sell.

It also remains to be seen if the 19-year-old would be willing to head to Old Trafford – especially if United miss out on Champions League football next season.

Those are concerns that have been raised in the dressing room as United's players ready themselves for a turbulent summer.

For the ones who know they are part of Soslkjaer's long-term plans, the question is who will he bring in to fulfil his pledge of returning the club 'to the top of the tree'?

What is increasingly clear is the fact that it will take major surgery to transform this squad.

Woodward has agreed to a greater 'churn' of players than desired during one window – giving his okay to an increase on the preferred 'three in, three out' model.

But Solskjaer knows this summer will be just the beginning of his Old Trafford revolution, which was reflected in his pre-derby admission that next season will be too soon to challenge the country's leading pair City and Liverpool.