Saturday 18 January 2020

Solskjaer could get caught in crossfire of scattergun approach

Kevin Kilbane believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may be the next victim of Manchester United's failed transfer policy. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.
Kevin Kilbane believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may be the next victim of Manchester United's failed transfer policy. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

Ireland legend Kevin Kilbane has accused Manchester United CEO Ed Woodward of masterminding a failed transfer policy.

And he suggested manager Ole Gunner Solskjaer could become the latest victim of his 'scattergun' approach to player recruitment.

Woodward has come under fire for failing to land his top targets once again this summer, with the £50m capture of Aaron Wan-Bissaka United's only big-name arrival with less than a week to run in the transfer window.

United have been trying to sign Juventus forward Paulo Dybala in a swap deal that will see striker Romelu Lukaku move to Turin.

While Harry Maguire has been left out of the Leicester City squad to play Atalanta, amid intense speculation that the central defender could be about to make a move to Old Trafford, Kilbane says that the lack of clarity in United's recruitment process is a flaw that will continue to undermine their efforts to reclaim past glories.

"United's transfer policy since Alex Ferguson stepped down as manager has been hard to work out," said Kilbane, speaking at the launch of Virgin Media's €55-a-month 'Endless Football' package.

"They have paid top wages to attract players, handed over massive money to sign the big-names, but they have not necessarily got the right fit for the club.

"It has been a scattergun approach. They see that a superstar player is available and they outbid everyone to get him, without actually working out where he fits into the team and whether he is the player they need.

"There is no real identity to the club and this has been the case through a series of managers. David Moyes was the first to try and work with Woodward and that didn't go well. Then Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho tried to work for the club and once again, it was not successful. Now Solskjaer is experiencing it and it might not end well for him.

"Heading into the final week of the transfer window, United appear to be looking at Dybala and Harry Maguire.

"And even though they are at the top end of the transfer market, they will offer more money than anyone else to make it happen. It's not a policy that works.

"The reality over the last few years has been quite sobering for Manchester United fans because it has been an incredible turnaround for them.

"Quite simply, what they have been trying has not worked, but they don't seem to have changed too much as they are now trying to persuade Dybala to sign for them.

"The idea that United have to try and convince players to join them is a big shift in mindset for anyone who has been a part of football over the last 30 years, and especially for fans of the club.

Kilbane believes United will be well off the pace in the Premier League title race, as he predicts defending champions Manchester City could run away with the prize this time.

"I always thought it would be a challenge for Liverpool to start this season quickly after their Champions League win because it is never easy coming down from a high like that, kicking on and going again," added Kilbane.

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