United’s chief technical scout Mick Court drew up a shortlist of goals in January and football negotiations director Matt Judge has been in dialogue with various player representatives in recent months.
United are interested in Raphael Varane, Declan Rice and Jadon Sancho, while Solskjaer has refused to rule out a move for a striker amid Harry Kane’s desire to leave Tottenham.
Real Madrid are set to sell Varane, 28, to United in order to secure a fee rather than losing the Frenchman for free next summer. Dortmund cut his asking price for Sancho, 21, from £ 108million last year to around £ 80million, but Rice, 22, would be more expensive as he has three years left on his contract with West Ham and is also admired by Chelsea and Manchester City.
All talks with Sancho’s representatives have been suspended until the end of the Bundesliga season and the winger is now with the England squad in Middlesbrough, preparing for their Championship warm-up friendly matches. Europe with Austria and Romania. Sancho’s contract in Dortmund runs until 2023.
The United team returned to Manchester in the early hours of Thursday morning after their Europa League final loss to Villarreal and Solskjaer was present at a planning meeting later today.
United deputy manager Mike Phelan was present with Solskjaer and football manager John Murtough at the meeting. The role of director of football appealed to Phelan after returning to United two years ago, but Solskjaer wanted him to remain his assistant.
A compromise was found when Phelan who, exceptionally for a deputy director, does not chair the training sessions, was invited to intervene on the recruitment. Phelan specifically approved the £ 80million move for Harry Maguire, who worked with him in Hull.
Villarreal defender Pau Torres impressed against United last week and the Spain international was named to United’s list of five finalists on center-back targets. Varane remains the most desirable option as United want an experienced partner for Maguire.
Solskjaer has stressed the need for United to improve their squad if they are to fight for the Premier League title next season, with a minimum of three first-team signings targeted.
“I was delighted with the effort, the desire, the determination of all the players, I cannot fault them,” said Solskjaer. “We probably did as well as anyone could imagine.
“We are here now, we have to do better, we have to work better, work harder, smarter. But, like I said, two or three players to strengthen the starting XI and the team together is important for us to go even further.
“Because I’m sure our suitors or challengers will want to improve as well and we want to improve as much as we can. “
City, Liverpool and Chelsea – the league’s other top four – are all managed by Champions League winning coaches.