Manchester United’s summer transfer plans should begin to take shape over the next few weeks.
Tasked with overseeing a major rebuild ahead of the 2019-20 season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer won’t be sitting on his hands after Daniel James’ £15 million signing last week.
The former Swansea winger certainly fits the bill of the type of player Solskjaer believes will be key to driving the club back to the summit of English and European football.
Speaking to the official club website in May, the Norwegian said he wants to restore the Red Devils’ original philosophy of developing youth instead of buying ready-made stars.
“You have to have that value system – do you say that? A certain kind of attitude about you to make a Manchester United player,” he said.
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“You have got to have qualities and our fans want to see exciting players. We want to get up from our seats. You see defenders who defend, like that’s their life, that’s the most important thing.
“That’s the way it’s been and in our culture. You have to have that work ethic and we’re scouting the market trying to find the right ones.”
That said, it seems even the ‘right ones’ won’t come cheap in today’s market.
United have reportedly been knocked back a second time in their pursuit of Aaron Wan-Basaka after Crystal Palace rejected a £50 million offer for the 21-year-old.
Meanwhile, negotiations with another key target - Issa Diop of West Ham - may have reached an impasse.
The Independent claim that while United are keen on striking a deal for the towering centre-back, his employers are willing to sell only if Anthony Martial is offered in exchange.
This comes off the back of Old Trafford chiefs seeing a bid of £45 million turned down by the Hammers, who value Diop at £60 million after an impressive debut season in England.
United are unlikely to be interested in entertaining the Hammers’ counteroffer, mainly because of their preference to move on Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku.
Despite inconsistency plaguing the majority of Martial’s four seasons at the club, the Red Devils hierarchy are generally of the view that his talent is worth persisting with.
However, with Solskjaer desperate to land a new centre-back this summer, it’s not entirely unfeasible he would be willing to use the mercurial France international as makeweight.