Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has blamed the money wasted in the Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho eras as a key reason for Manchester United’s cautious approach in the transfer market now.
United are reluctant to be seen overpaying for transfer targets and have made a point of negotiating prices down during Solskjaer’s first three transfer windows as manager.
That caution has been particularly prevalent this summer, with the club counting the cost of the coronavirus pandemic on revenues and adamant they won’t meet the £108million asking price that Borussia Dortmund set for Jadon Sancho.
United spent around £270million on players under Van Gaal and around £370million under Mourinho and while not every deal was a dud, the spending sprees didn’t bring a title challenge under either manager.
Solskjaer has spent more than £200million himself now in three windows, but insists every deal has to be carefully considered and said United were partly paying the price for the spending of previous regimes.
“It does come into it because when you sign players you go into a thorough process to make sure the ones you bring in are right for the club,” he said.
“It’s easy to pick out the best players in the world. Every clubs knows about them. The process in recruitment and scouting is vital to make sure that when you invest money it is well spent.
“I think the process – and the people we have involved to monitor and identify players are doing a good job.
“When I came in, my view was that we had to give young players a chance, that we had to see if we could find something in our own ranks – and that has worked well.
“We’ve also lost a few good players who have gone on to do well at other clubs, but we felt that moving forward we wanted to go in a different direction.”
Solskjaer has had to trim the squad he inherited from Mourinho and the change of approach from Van Gaal to Mourinho to Solskjaer has resulted in each manager trying to put his own stamp on the squad
It also led to some players being offloaded, with Solskjaer letting Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez join Inter Milan. Both players were signed on big deals but neither was a success at the club.
The Norwegian wouldn’t blame any particular player for the transfer market failures but said the collective spending meant a cautious approach was now the order of the day.
“I don’t want to talk about names who didn’t have a successful career at Man United before moving on because there are different reasons for people not being a success at the club,” said Solskjaer.
“But, yes, we have to be very thorough and very sure when we put big money down for players.
“They have to be right for the future, for now, for the group that is already here, how they will affect other players.
“It’s more complex and a bigger operation that just pointing a finger at a player and saying ‘he’s got the quality’.”