The move seemed inevitable weeks ago given the transformation the 46-year-old fan favourite has overseen since being named caretaker boss in December, taking over from divisive former manager Jose Mourinho.
“We’ve got some, I’ve got some targets. I would want a Man United team that’s one of the hardest working teams in the league and the fittest teams in the league, and that then will bring results,” Solskjaer said in a press conference.
“We have sat down and discussed, but now it’s easier to be clear about what we need to do because we will do some businesses this summer,” he added.
The Norwegian has overseen 14 wins from his 19 games in charge, reviving top-four hopes while progressing to the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a jaw-dropping win at Paris Saint-Germain.
Solskjaer, who scored 126 goals in 366 appearances for United, initially arrived ‘on loan’ from Molde until the end of the season after Mourinho was sacked following a 3-1 loss to Liverpool.
Umtiti entered this season on the back of a World Cup triumph with France last summer and was expected to kick on in Barcelona colours after a promising first two seasons at the club, having joined from Lyon in 2016.
However, injuries – he’s made only 10 appearances for Barcelona this year thanks to a recurring knee issue – have curtailed his progress and allowed his compatriot, Clement Lenglet, to emerge as the preferred partner for veteran defender Gerard Pique. And with Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt being targeted as a summer arrival and a deal for Toulouse’s Jean-Clair Todibo to join already agreed, Umtiti may be left as the third-choice or even fourth-choice centre-back at the club. A move away could be the only way to guarantee regular playing time.
United are said to be interested as they look to recruit defensive reinforcements as part of a squad overhaul this summer, though with Umtiti’s availability on the transfer market they may prioritise other players, having been linked with Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, Benfica’s Ruben Dias, and Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld in recent weeks.
Though Umtiti has a €500million release clause in his Barcelona contract, a starting offer of around €70million would be a good starting point for negotiations, though the club are in no pressure to sell the Frenchman given that his contract runs until 2023.
Thibaut Courtois has yet again said he would like for his friend and Belgium team-mate Eden Hazard to join him at Real Madrid.
The duo were team-mates at Chelsea until last summer, when Courtois made the switch. Hazard has long been linked with a move to the Madrid club, and there is a chance that a transfer is done this summer, when the playmaker will be entering the final year of his current contract at Chelsea, who will not want to risk losing him for free a year later.
Though the threat of a transfer ban for Chelsea complicates matters, as they’d be unable to replace Hazard if they let him go, they have already recruited Borussia Dortmund playmaker Christian Pulisic, and given that and Hazard’s contract status, he and Courtois could soon be reunited.
“I don’t know if he is going to sign for Real Madrid, nor do I know if the club want him,” Courtois said to Spanish radio station Onda Cero on Wednesday.
“For me, he is a great player, but I don’t decide those things.
“Each one decides what he does with his life. For me, he is one of the best in the world and as a friend I would like him to be here.”