Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is reported to have told Ed Woodward his top two Manchester United targets ahead of the transfer window re-opening January. The Premier League side have missed out on both Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland over the past 10 months, and boss Solskjaer still wants the Borussia Dortmund stars.
United’s failed pursuit of Sancho was one of the transfer sagas of the summer, with Dortmund refusing to budge from their £108million price tag.
Having been frustrated in their attempts to secure the England winger, the Red Devils made four signings on deadline day – including striker Edinson Cavani, who had been a free agent since leaving Paris-Saint Germain in July.
It was a similar story in the January transfer window, when United had been widely considered favourites to sign Haaland from RB Salzburg, with the striker having previously played under Solskjaer at Molde in their native Norway.
But Dortmund snapped up Haaland for €20m (£18m) after United pulled out of talks, and the 20-year-old has since reaffirmed his value with 21 goals in 23 appearances for the Bundesliga side.
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United’s executive vice-chairman Woodward walked away from a deal because of agents’ fees and the insistence of Haaland’s representatives on a release clause, according to ESPN.
The publication reports that Solskjaer believed the Haaland deal would have made financially and in footballing terms, and is privately frustrated at the club’s failure to land either of his top targets over the past two windows.
United’s manager met with Haaland personally and believed he had struck an agreement with the player over a switch to Old Trafford, only for the forward to end up in Germany.
In the case of Sancho, the frustration is all the greater given that United appeared to be the only club in the race for the 20-year-old winger, with other potential suitors counting the cost of the coronavirus pandemic.
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ESPN also reports that even Donny van de Beek, who was United’s only signing heading into transfer deadline day, was not regarded by Solskjaer as a primary target.
Solskjaer still wants both Sancho and Haaland, but United are unlikely to sign them in the January window.
The Old Trafford outfit are expected to renew their pursuit of Sancho next summer, but rival clubs are set to join them in the race for the rising star.
And the other factor at play is that much depends on whether Solskjaer is still in charge at United by the end of the season.
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Woodward will have no hesitation firing Solskjaer if United’s season continues to stall, according to The Mirror.
Solskjaer is a an old Trafford legend after his 1999 Treble heroics when the former striker scored the last-gasp goal against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final.
But Woodward has privately insisted he would put sentiment aside for the future of the club.
Mauricio Pochettino was linked with the United hotseat when Jose Mourinho was sacked in 2018, and would be the hot favourite to succeed Solskjaer if the manager is replaced.
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