Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer kept his cards close to his chest as discussions continued over Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho.
The Old Trafford giants are hoping to make the 20-year-old their marquee signing in a summer when the impact of the coronavirus pandemic means few other clubs can get anywhere near Dortmund’s lofty asking price.
The PA news agency understands discussions are ongoing about a deal for Sancho and Solskjaer gave little away when asked about the benefit of getting transfers completed early given the unusual backdrop.
“This transfer window is a long one and every transfer takes its course,” he said. “It is what it is.
“At the moment, I’ve got no updates for you anyway so if there’s any news, we’ll update you.”
🗣 Ole: "The team's developed all throughout the season, but the next step for us is winning a trophy, after getting to two semi-finals."#MUFC#UELpic.twitter.com/e2pTgTv8Au— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 4, 2020
Solskjaer was previewing United’s Europa League last-16 second leg against LASK, who will arrive at Old Trafford 5-0 down from March’s first leg.
Chris Smalling had hoped to be involved in the competition with Roma, but an extension to his season-long loan move has not been reached.
The defender said he was “gutted” that he “can’t finish what we started this season” as the Serie A side prepared to face Sevilla, with Solskjaer ready to welcome the 30-year-old back to Old Trafford.
“I think Chris has shown over his career at Man United how valuable he is for Man United,” the Norwegian said.
“This season was about him being a regular, going to Roma, showing and proving how good a centre-back he is.
“I wanted to give Harry (Maguire), Vic (Victor Lindelof), maybe Axel (Tuanzebe) a chance, so we found out that was the best for him to go to Roma, play for a year.
“Now he’s coming back and Chris has shown this season that he will be valuable.
“I’ve been speaking to Chris throughout and been delighted with his season.”
By contrast, Alexis Sanchez has got the green light from United to feature in the Europa League.
The forward has been an unmitigated flop at Old Trafford and PA understands discussions over a permanent exit continue having been given the go-ahead to feature for Inter Milan against Getafe on Wednesday.
United have named a 30-strong squad for their remaining matches, with Tuanzebe and Shaw omitted due to season-ending injuries.
“Axel started to get niggles early on when we restarted and he had to have an operation in his foot, so he’ll be back early-September-ish,” Solskjaer said.
“Same with Luke. It’s the same injury as against Southampton and he’ll be ready again early September.
“They both should be ready for when the league starts.”
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