Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted there will be “no quick fix” at Manchester United as he looks for them to challenge on both the domestic and European fronts.
United succumbed to a humbling 3-0 defeat at Barcelona in midweek, ending their Champions League campaign at the quarter-final stage, while they have a battle on their hands to finish in the Premier League top four.
Solskjaer, whose immediate focus is on a difficult week in which they will play Everton, Manchester City and Chelsea in the space of eight days, knows he cannot solve everything by making a spate of signings this summer.
Speaking ahead of their trip to Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon, the United boss said: “We know we have to be realistic here and we know we have a job to be done.
“There’s no quick fix, it’s not like we buy seven players and suddenly we’re in the right shape, we are where we are.
“We have to take it step-by-step and of course there will be signings made in the summer.”
With Manchester United set for a second straight season without silverware, all signs point to a big summer overhaul from newly-installed manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The Norwegian has spoken of the investment it will take to rebuild the squad so that it bridges the gap to clubs like Barcelona, who dumped United out of the Champions League this week.
While part of the rebuild will involve bringing in new players, Solskjaer and the rest of the club hierarchy will need to make cold, ruthless decisions about the ones already at the club.
Here, we look at how likely the current goalkeepers at United are to remain at Old Trafford beyond this summer. Check out our analysis of the club’s defenders, midfielders, and strikers as well.
David De Gea
David De Gea may have lost his crown as the world’s best goalkeeper after a poor season by his standards, but he still pulls off outstanding saves that continue to prove his value to United.
Whether that value translates into the club meeting his wage demands remains to be seen. He reportedly wants to be the club’s highest player, a reasonable ask given his contributions, but this is made more difficult by Alexis Sanchez’s current contract, which has blown up whatever wage structure the club had in place.
A move to Real Madrid may no longer be the dream, with Zinedine Zidane back in charge of Los Blancos – he reportedly was never as keen on signing the Spaniard as the club hierarchy were – and Thibaut Courtois having joined last summer.
Still, De Gea is entering the last season of his current contract and several leading European clubs could be looking for an upgrade at goalkeeper, with Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus the obvious contenders. Signing him to a new deal is one of United’s biggest priorities this summer, but if talks continue to stall, they may decide that cashing in is the better option.
Likelihood of staying: 8/10
If that De Gea mistake was a one-off, then it could be dismissed as just that. But it's not even his first this month. May have been the world's best, but he's nowhere near that right now.— Mark Ogden (@MarkOgden_) April 16, 2019
Romero has earned the status as one of the world’s best back-up goalkeepers during his time at United, if not the best. It’s meant as genuine praise, but is there a more backhanded compliment for a footballer than to call him the best player not good enough to start for his club?
At the moment, Romero has a comfortable role and impresses whenever he’s called upon, but he knows that there’s likely no route to him being United’s No1, even if De Gea leaves. He’ll just have to play second fiddle to a new recruit. That might be good enough for now, but the 32-year-old must be contemplating his future.
Likelihood of staying: 9/10
Sergio Romero has conceded multiple goals in an #FACup campaign for the first time in his Man Utd career:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 16, 2019
2015/16: 1 game, 0 conceded
2016/17: 3 games, 1 conceded
2017/18: 4 games, 0 conceded
2018/19: 4 games, 2 conceded
Wolves are on the brink. https://t.co/EGvUEa5YlJ
One of the strangest signings of last summer, as United added Stoke City’s second-choice keeper to their squad as cover with the highly-rated Joel Pereira sent out on loan. He’s made only one appearance, coming on in the disastrous League Cup loss to Derby County after Romero was sent off as United were defeated on penalties.
Pereira will likely be back in the summer, though he could get another loan move as United hedge their bets on two talented young goalkeepers – the Portugal prospect and Dean Henderson, currently on loan at Sheffield United – so Grant may stay on, especially to help the Red Devils out with the English Premier League quota.
Likelihood of staying: 6/10
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had an incredible start when took over as Manchester United caretaker boss.
However, the reality of the squad he has inherited has started to bite since the thrilling 3-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain that sparked him being given the job permanently.
Two of the five defeats since have come against Barcelona but Solskjaer clearly has a rebuilding job ahead of him, and admitted as much after Tuesday night’s 3-0 loss at the Camp Nou.
Here, Press Association Sport looks at the tough run of results since the unexpected Paris triumph.
Arsenal 2 Manchester United 0, Premier League, March 10
Solskjaer suffered his first defeat in the Premier League, with David De Gea at fault for Granit Xhaka’s opening goal.
Wolves 2 Manchester United 1, FA Cup, March 16
United were well below-par as they missed the opportunity to reach the semi-finals. Marcus Rashford’s late consolation goal was barely deserved and afterwards Solskjaer called it the “poorest performance” during his spell in charge.
Manchester United 2 Watford 1, Premier League, March 30
Solskjaer was made to sweat for his first win as permanent manager as sluggish United rode their luck and were outplayed for large parts of the match.
Wolves 2 Manchester United 1, Premier League, April 2
United took an early lead through Scott McTominay’s strike and played well until Diogo Jota’s 25th-minute equaliser. Solskjaer’s team still threatened after Ashley Young’s 57th-minute red card but slipped to a second defeat at Molineux in the space of 17 days.
Manchester United 0 Barcelona 1, Champions League, April 10
Barcelona were not at their best but were still good enough to beat United. Luke Shaw’s own goal proved the difference but Solskjaer’s side did not even manage a shot on target.
Manchester United 2 West Ham 1, Premier League, April 13
Solskjaer’s stuttering side managed a fortuitous win courtesy of a couple of Paul Pogba penalties. The decisive spot-kick 10 minutes from time came against the run of play as West Ham dominated and looked the most likely to win the match.
Barcelona 3 United 0, Champions League, April 16
United were unable to reproduce another improbably comeback like the one in Paris, despite starting well and causing Barcelona problems. However, a quick first-half double from Lionel Messi killed the tie and Solskjaer’s side were outclassed thereafter.