KEY POINTS

  • Solskjaer had shortlisted four players for the summer window
  • He wanted to sign two defenders to partner Harry Maguire
  • Even Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele refused to move to Man Utd

Manchester United had a disheartening summer transfer window as they failed to sign any of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s top targets.

Man Utd boss Solskjaer had four priority targets, including Borrusia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish, as reported by ESPN.

The 2020 summer transfer market, which ended on Oct. 5, saw Man Utd make five signings. Their first summer signing was midfielder Donny van de Beek, who moved from Ajax to Old Trafford at a fee of $51 million. Man Utd kickstarted their 2020-21 Premier League campaign with a 3-1 loss to Crystal Palace and it was van de Beek, who had scored the lone goal for Man Utd in his debut game.

On the deadline day (Oct. 5), Man Utd completed four signings. The 33-year-old forward Edinson Cavani Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) joined Man Utd as a free agent. The former Premier League champions signed FC Porto’s left-back Alex Telles for a fee close to $20 million and 18-year-old winger Facundo Pellistri for $11 million from Uruguayan club Penarol. Meanwhile, another 18-year-old striker - Amad Diallo - is set to move from Atalanta to Man Utd in January 2021.

But unnamed sources have told ESPN that Man Utd boss Solskjaer went into the summer transfer window having shortlisted four players. Apart from Sancho and Grealish, the Norweigian manager wanted to sign RB Leipzig's Dayot Upamecano and Bournemouth's Nathan Ake as he wanted the duo to partner The Red Devils’ captain Harry Maguire at the heart of their defense. However, Solskjaer and his coaching team were consulted before all the new signings the club made and the manager had given a green signal for every deal.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United have won just one of their first three Premier League fixtures Manchester United boss - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Photo: AFP / Oli SCARFF

It was earlier reported that even on repeated insistence from Solskjaer and Man Utd’s chief executive Ed Woodward, the club owners decided to walk away from Sancho’s transfer. The entire deal reportedly would have cost them, at least $292 million, which included Sancho’s transfer fee of $141 million at Dortmund, Sancho’s wage demand, and the fee asked by his agent, Emeka Obasi.

Grealish, on the other hand, was valued around $93 million by Aston Villa before the English midfielder signed a contract extension with his boyhood club. As per the new deal, Grealish would be a Villa Park player until 2025.

Just before the deadline day, Man Utd shifted focus to Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele as a loan alternative to Sancho. However, the French forward refused to leave the Nou Camp side.