Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said new signings would be a “bonus” after the summer deals for Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, while the Manchester United boss said his talks with Paul Pogba had been positive.
After finishing second in the Premier League and Europa League last season, the Red Devils have made two impressive moves to strengthen the squad.
United finally got their hands on Sancho, with the £ 73million transfer from the Borussia Dortmund winger quickly followed by a deal with Real Madrid for longtime target Varane.
There is still work to be done, but rumors from Old Trafford continue to suggest that further acquisitions will depend on summer sales – something Solskjaer seems to be preparing for.
“From now on it’s all a bonus,” United manager Solskjaer said when asked about other signings ahead of the deadline.
“I must say that with the two signatures that we have, we have strengthened ourselves where we wanted to strengthen ourselves.
“Let’s see what happens. You never know in football. Anything can happen, from the ins and outs.”
United still have a lot of decisions to make before the end of the month.
“Pogba speaks positively”
Pogba’s future is one subject that’s sure to dominate, with Paris St Germain heavily linked with a late-contract player at Old Trafford next summer.
“I hope every player thinks this is the perfect place to win trophies,” Solskjaer said.
“When you sign for Manchester United you have to rise to the challenge.
“Paul has come back and he’s fresh and he’s still such a positive boy. The discussions I’ve had with him have all been positive.”
Speculation is sure to rumble as United looked to win their first league crown since 2013, with Solskjaer talking about new players needing “character” to match their abilities.
When asked if this need to get was why it was important to be patient in the transfer market, as if they were chasing Sancho, Solskjaer said: “Definitely, and so on. This is what the club and the owners have been very good at as well.
“We had an open dialogue where we said, okay, if we haven’t had it, there’s no point in me signing someone we don’t want when, Jadon for example, when he is. available again, we will be able to pick it up.
“If we had signed someone else, we would have had a right winger. It’s about getting the right characters.
“I think we proved it last year with Edinson (Cavani). Bringing in Edi was so important and he showed the way for many.”
Veteran Cavani arrived with a fair amount of rust last October, signing on deadline day in a poor start to the season for United.
Solskjaer knows they can hardly afford such stutters this time around, which he keeps in mind as speculation continues over Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira and Diogo Dalot.
“We need a great team,” said the United manager. “The start is important, the whole season is important, but you have to arrive in April and May cool and with enough options.
“Some could be on loan until Christmas, others for a season, but I don’t want to be too light in any position.”
“Healthy competition between goalkeepers”
Solskjaer will be hoping to have Sancho and Varane, who have yet to undergo their medical exam, on the bench for the opener against Leeds next weekend, when the choice of Solskjaer’s goalkeeper will be interesting.
Tom Heaton joined this summer to bolster a group of goalkeepers led by David De Gea and Dean Henderson, with the duo gearing up for another season by battling for the top spot.
“It depends on what characters you have and how they freeze,” Solskjaer said of the goalkeeper situation. “It’s healthy competition.
“If you’re too comfortable I don’t think you’re getting the best of yourself.
“You need an advantage and you need an advantage of ‘if I don’t play someone else is going to take my place’ but it has to be healthy for the team and healthy for the group. If it’s toxic and it’s energy-draining it’s not great.
“Last year was a new situation for David and a new situation for Dean. This year, let’s see how it goes.”
Henderson missed this week’s training camp in Scotland as he recovers from Covid-19, having become the last United player to test positive.
The PA news agency understands that the Premier League is not enforcing the coronavirus vaccination because it is following government guidelines, with Solskjaer saying United will be holding a session with the players to discuss the vaccine.
“Yes, we have informed them and some of them are already fully vaccinated, others are not sure,” added the Norwegian.
“But we’re going to have a bigger session with them now because I think it’s important that everyone knows what this is about.”