United have won admission to the whirligig of cash money that is the Champions League. Hang self-respect, this is splurge time, baby!

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer now has the opportunity to continue his work on remodelling the squad to serve his desires. The Norwegian is focused above all else on ridding the side not just of deadwood, but of players who don’t have the right mentality. That’s why Harry Maguire was brought in despite his shortcomings, and why he is lining up the expulsion of more players this summer.

Add to that the shortlist of players who could be brought in this summer, and it is obvious that despite the financial implications of coronavirus, there could be plenty of business while the club plans for a tilt at the title, and attempts to challenge for the Champions League.


Jadon Sancho

Jadon Sancho

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A sure thing, unless it doesn’t happen. Sporting director Michael Zorc is set to spend the next week or two identifying a replacement for Borussia Dortmund on the right wing, in order to ease the exit of Jadon Sancho to Manchester United.

Solskjaer brought in Daniel James last summer to strengthen the wings but that is not enough for the Norwegian, who has seen James struggle to keep his head above water in the second half of the season. Adding Sancho, already one of England’s best players despite being just 20, would give United depth in attack. Next season could see Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and James fighting for places alongside Sancho.

Gabriel Magalhaes

GABRIEL of Lille during the French Ligue 1 Football match between Lille and Brest at Stade Pierre Mauroy on December 6, 2019

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The Brazilian under-20 international has impressed in central defence for Lille this season, and is attracting attention from clubs such as Napoli, Everton and Inter Milan. Reports suggest that United have asked to be kept informed over any bids that come in for the player.

It is clear that Solskjaer has few options in central defence with his willingness to use Luke Shaw in a back three to protect the goal, while Phil Jones is kept as far away from the team as possible. Signing Gabriel would add competition to the current pairing of Maguire, Victor Lindelof and nobody else.

Jan Oblak

Jan Oblak

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This can almost certainly be filed under impossible rumours, for practical reasons only. Manchester United have a ready-made replacement for David de Gea in the form of Dean Henderson, and unless they are able to shunt him out of the club quickly this summer, the Spaniard is likely to stay. Far better to bring Henderson back and prove to De Gea that he is the better choice, or maybe even spark United’s current number one into something like his best form.

Jack Grealish

Jack Grealish of Aston Villa celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Aston Villa at London Stadium on July 26, 2020 in London, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to

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Grealish has allegedly already agreed terms with United with a mind on moving to the club in the summer, but just because his personal requirements have been addressed does not mean that anything is guaranteed.

The playmaker was part of an Aston Villa side that kept itself up on the last day of the season on Sunday and that will keep Villa’s finances relatively healthy. When faced with the choice of plumping for Sancho or the 24-year-old Grealish, it seems likely that United will elect to go for the younger option, particularly as Paul Pogba looks set to stay for at least another year.

Kalidou Koulibaly

Kalidou Koulibaly - Napoli-Sassuolo Serie A 2019-20

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One of the reasons that Gabriel is attracting attention from Napoli is that they are now ready to let Koulibaly leave. The Senegalese central defender has seen his asking price drop to around £65 million, but that has come at the same time as his appearances have been less impressive.

At 29, the player has plenty of experience but one must think at this stage that United, with their focus on homegrown players with potential, will now look elsewhere to strengthen the backline.


Jesse Lingard

Jesse Lingard of Manchester United celebrates scoring their second goal during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Manchester United at The King Power Stadium on July 26, 2020

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After being frozen out for much of the second half of the season, 27-year-old Lingard has come back into the fray for United as they stuttered over the line. A late goal against Leicester City showed that he can - sometimes - directly contribute.

However, it is probably too little, too late, and with his failure to kick on in terms of ability after he grabbed a first-team place under Louis van Gaal not much has changed. Other, younger players are already more accomplished and he can be used to raise funds. The question is whether a move to another English side or to Serie A is most likely.

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Phil Jones

FA Cup Fourth Round - Tranmere Rovers v Manchester United - Prenton Park, Birkenhead, Britain - January 26, 2020 Manchester United's Phil Jones

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Jones managed two Premier League appearances. He did that in a year that saw Chris Smalling on loan at Roma and Marcos Rojo dispatched to Independiente, meaning there was barely any competition.for places and he still lost out.

At 28 Jones, like Lingard, has failed to grasp his opportunity. Too many mistakes and too many injuries means that it is no longer worth keeping him in the squad and hoping he will be any use. That ship has sailed.

David de Gea

David De Gea

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De Gea has been perhaps United’s worst performing player who remains assured of a starting place under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and he has ready-made competition to come through the door in the shape of Dean Henderson.

The 23-year-old is wanted by Sheffield United after another impressive season on loan at Bramall Lane, but United are keen to bring him back to Old Trafford for next year. That suggests that they know that De Gea’s time is, if not up, coming towards an end. Whether United and De Gea can persuade another side to take on his £300,000-a-week wages is the biggest obstacle to his exit.

Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez of FC Internazionale reacts during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale and UC Sampdoria at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on June 21, 2020 in Milan, Italy

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The 31-year-old Chilean was meant to be the player who could help Jose Mourinho challenge Pep Guardiola for the title. After Liverpool, Solskjaer and coronavirus, that time feels like another age. It didn’t work out, and Sanchez appears happier at Inter Milan.

His time has been nothing spectacular in Italy, but a late improvement after injury kept him out for some of the season under Antonio Conte the Italian side have made encouraging noises about keeping him on. Perhaps they know that Sanchez would despair at the idea of going back to Manchester, and maybe they know that United can’t keep him at the club and also bring in Jadon Sancho. There is a deal to be reached to take him off their hands.

Chris Smalling

Smalling - Inter-Roma - Serie A 2019/2020 - Getty Images

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Smalling is another player in Italy, with the 30-year-old central defender clearly enjoying life in Italy. He has impressed his fans and his boss, and made 34 appearances so far for the first team.

His parent club are happy to sell and his current club wants to do a deal. What remains is the structure to be thrashed out. Another loan period with an obligation may be a happy compromise, where United know they can count on a lump sum in 2021 while Roma are able to put off a serious outlay for another season.

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