Transfer Talk: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer strategy takes shape at Man Utd

Pete Graves and Dharmesh Sheth are joined by The Independent’s Melissa Reddy to assess whether Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Man Utd transfer strategy is getting the credit it deserves

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Manchester United’s under-the-radar capture of Donny van de Beek underlines Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's clear and focused transfer strategy, Melissa Reddy told the Transfer Talk podcast.

United moved swiftly to complete the £39m signing of the 23-year-old Netherlands international from Ajax on Wednesday.

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Reddy, senior football writer at The Independent, joined host Pete Graves and Sky Sports News reporter Dharmesh Sheth on the podcast and praised Solskjaer for a piece of forward-thinking transfer business.

Asked whether Solskjaer deserved credit for signing Van de Beek, she said: "Definitely. In terms of creating a clear and focused strategy, United now have a concrete idea of the profile they are after in terms of age, attitude and style. It's incredibly important.

"I think Manchester United still lag behind Liverpool and Manchester City in the set-up behind the scenes, but I think Ole has done good business.

"One of the biggest credits is that the vision is clear for the future, not just for the season. There isn't that, 'let's win a trophy and we've done it' mentality, it's about progressing the club."

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It just feels for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill left the club there is strategy at Manchester United. Solskjaer has gone for a targeted transfer policy – young, hungry players, often homegrown players. I think the United fans will be pleased.
Sky Sports News reporter Dharmesh Sheth

Van de Beek's arrival at Old Trafford has further strengthened United's claim to possessing one of the strongest midfields in the Premier League.

The Bruno Fernandes-Paul Pogba axis that proved influential as United finished the 2019/20 campaign third in the table now has an added dimension, as Reddy explains.

"I've been a massive, massive admirer of Fernandes and how he walked into Old Trafford and said, 'Give me the responsibility, I'll take it and drive forward'," she said.

"As well as being involved in their best play, he's made everyone around him better. Pogba I still think does things on a football pitch that very few players can.

How does Donny van de Beek compare with Man Utd's current midfield options?
Image: How does Donny van de Beek compare with Man Utd's current midfield options?

"And, in Van de Beek, they have a different player to both Fernandes and Pogba, and that's important because United now have a new dimension.

"What's so good about Van de Beek? Well, he's been involved in 49 league goals in 91 games, but he's such a diverse player himself.

"He can play as a defensive midfielder, in the No 8 position or as a playmaker. He makes late runs into the box, has excellent passing and vision and is the perfect profile with his age, experience and maturity in this play.

"It's a very good signing, a very good fit, and gives them a different element to what they have."

Sancho still to come?

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James Cooper updates us on Jadon Sancho's potential move to Manchester United after the club agreed personal terms with Ajax's Donny van de Beek

While the arrival of Van de Beek signals a step in the right direction on the transfer front for Manchester United, signing Jadon Sancho would serve as further indication as to the progress Solskjaer has made during his Old Trafford tenure.

United and Borussia Dortmund appear at an impasse in negotiations, however, with the clubs apart in their valuation of the England international.

"It feels Dortmund are comfortable he will be staying," Reddy added. "But this just feels like a case of money.

"If Manchester United are willing to pay what Dortmund value Sancho as, he becomes a United player.

"We know there has been a tendency in the past for United to play the long game, haggle over money, and eventually pay what the club want anyway. We saw that with Harry Maguire and Fernandes.

"But, with that, you are starving the player of the chance to come in earlier and adapt to the team, and form chemistry, understand the culture of the club, and if that happens again, I don't think supporters will appreciate that, to let so long pass before paying what they wanted anyway.

"Sancho is an incredible player, and not just because of his profile, his attributes - his intelligence and technique - he has it all."

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