Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says uncertainty and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic may impact their availability to spend big money this summer.
The club have been linked with Borussia Dortmund pair Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho and are understood to be on the hunt for a striker. Edinson Cavani, who joined at the start of the campaign, has a deal which is due to finish at the end of the season, though there is an option to extend that for another year.
United are 15 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City heading into Wednesday’s game at Crystal Palace, and though Solskjaer accepts changes need to be made to challenge for titles, he knows they will have to run the business in a prudent manner.
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"It's definitely affecting everyone in football, the pandemic," he said.
Of course the lack of income, the finances that have affected everyone and it might affect us all well. We have to be realistic, we have to be responsible in the way we do our business both on and off the pitch.
"There's improvements on the training ground, stadium. We just have to look at the whole picture. Where can we spend the money? And how much is there? It's just the real world now. It has changed.
"We also have players in the academy that we now can maybe give opportunities to.
Of course, all clubs in the world are going through the same situation so it's no different for other clubs than for us. I think there's just going to be less and less transfers happening in the world of football until this changes.
Cavani could return to action at Selhurst Park, having missed the last four games in all competitions due to a muscle injury. Though the former Paris Saint-Germain striker is in the latter days of his career, Solskjaer insists it is not all about finding a long-term option up front.
"I would never ever start to think the way you think on Edinson turning 35 next year because he's just turned 34”, said Solskjaer.
"You and I have different mentalities - that's a completely different way of thinking.
"And I always say that Mason (Greenwood), Anthony (Martial), Edinson... when we can really get them really firing that means we're a very good team.
"But we're always looking at better players, of course we are."
It is clear United could really do with a striker to help bring them closer to City, who are by far the best team in the Premier League at the moment. Solskjaer's side have repeatedly come up short in games against a traditional "big six" club this season, having drawn 0-0 with Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea since the turn of the year.
But they have issues elsewhere and may need an upgrade in central defence, with Sevilla's Jules Kounde linked with a move.
Just like January's transfer window though, this summer's spending is likely to be heavily affected by the global health situation. The majority of leagues will have gone almost the entire season without anything other than a small number of fans, and well over a year since full crowds were filling stadiums. TV companies have demanded a proportion of the money they have spent on rights to be paid back and all this considered, the financial impact is huge.
The reality is that clubs will not be able to afford major overhauls for a while yet, and there is an argument this pandemic may well reset the transfer market, turning it into something far less reckless. Solskjaer's approach is cautious, but that said, United's commercial prowess probably means they can afford to make at least one big signing.
If you are going to gamble on spending that money on anyone, there are far worse options than Haaland.
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