This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Speaking on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football, Manchester United legend Gary Neville has urged Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to be “selfish” in the upcoming January transfer window.
The Red Devils pulled off just three permanent summer signings in Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire. Despite losing a host of players, including the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez, United failed to bring in replacements.
And having seen the side’s young players go 2-0 down at Sheffield United before clinching a dramatic 3-3 draw, Neville insisted Solskjaer desperately needs to add more experienced players to the side.
He said: “They haven’t got senior players to let them know the expectation of what’s required in a football team. They don’t know how to approach a Premier League away game. They don’t understand that it’s different playing at Old Trafford than away from home. They don’t have the experience or maturity. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has to go and spend the club’s money for himself, on two or three experienced players.
“He must demand it, he’s not going to be there to see the fruits of the labour that he’s putting in because there’s a lot of good young players on that pitch that I enjoy watching, but unless they get the players in and around them quickly, they’ll not see the standard and won’t have the maturity.
“Ole’s going to have to be selfish. He’s going to have to have that ruthless streak that a (Jose) Mourinho has, or a (Antonio) Conte has, and he’s going to have to go and spend the club’s money in the January window and put two or three experienced players in that group and they could come alive.”
Make no mistake about it, Solskjaer must address some of the key areas for concern in the January window. Waiting until next summer to do something about it would place even greater doubt on their ability to finish in the top four – they currently find themselves nine points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.
If the United boss simply towed the club line and refrained from bringing in a new striker and midfielder in the summer, then he has to be more selfish in January as Neville alludes to. He has to stamp his authority and take the game to Ed Woodward, and demand that he backs him in the transfer market. The winter window promises to be a pivotal point in the Red Devils’ campaign, and it all rests on whether Solskjaer can really dip his toes into the water.
If he can embrace some of the cut-throat elements of Mourinho’s style of management, then he stands a much better chance of not having Woodward simply roll him over.
Meanwhile, find out how Manchester United fans reacted when Pep Guardiola delivered an injury update on key Manchester City man.