Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has his sights set on two top players next summer transfer window. But one could cost the other coming and Manchester United must prioritise a problematic area of the squad over the other.
United have plans to sign Declan Rice and Erling Haaland next summer but one might cost the other’s arrival.
The Red Devils made a number of signings in the last window – and big ones at that – Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane.
The results have yet to follow after two morale-damaging results in a row, losing to Young Boys in the Champions League before a defeat to Aston Villa at Old Trafford.
It has led to questions over Solskjaer’s management but the Norweigan is desperate to bring in two more players to complete his squad.
Haaland has long been the dream at Old Trafford – since exploding onto the scene with RB Salzburg.
United tried to sign the striker in January 2020 before he opted to move to Borussia Dortmund instead – where his goalscoring antics have made him a global superstar.
They will go for the Leeds-born ace next summer where a free-for-all is likely to come into play, with the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City and Bayern Munich interested.
However, Solskjaer will feel he has the upper hand in any talks after coaching him at Molde and being a family friend of the Haalands.
But is he the player they need? The answer already appears to be no.
The lack of a midfield presence has already hurt United badly and, though they have not been tested against the other Top Six clubs, the big games could seriously expose them.
Fred and Scott McTominay are wilful but limited and are unlikely to be able to take the Red Devils to the next level whereas Rice can.
The England international has gone from strength to strength at West Ham and is the exact kind of player that United need to solidify that midfield.
However, Solskjaer will have to make a decision – both players are set to cost the club an arm and a leg.
West Ham have priced Rice at £100m and are prepared to dig their heels in while Haaland has a release clause at £68m, substantially cheaper but the added costs could be even more than the actual transfer fee.
Haaland’s agent Mino Raiola is set to command a mammoth fee while the striker’s wages could be as much as £500,000-a-week, including a hefty signing-on fee.
The 21-year-old would be a great success in front of goal but Rice, though perhaps not as glitzy an arrival, would be exponentially more important and should be prioritised in the summer transfer window.