Solskjaer happy with United’s defensive options, Smalling future still uncertain

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has played down speculation that Manchester United are trying to sign a centre-back in the transfer market.

The transfer window shuts in less than two weeks and United have made just one signing so far, with Donny van de Beek arriving from Ajax.

Fans are understandably frustrated with the belief that the Glazers are not giving Solskjaer sufficient backing from a financial point of view and time is running out.

Manchester United shipped three goals in their Premier League opener against Crystal Palace. There was always going to be questions asked of Solskjaer’s team defensively.

Harry Maguire is not shy of a mistake and Victor Lindelof doesn’t cut the mustard, but Solskjaer sounds like he’s happy with his options, even if we find it hard to believe he’s telling the truth.

“I think last season proved to us how we can defend at our best,” Solskjaer told the press this morning, as per Manchester Evening News. “Last week wasn’t fantastic, we conceded sloppy goals but I think our defensive record from last season with Eric and Harry — how good a partnership they were.

“Eric is fit again, a big big plus and looking forward to seeing him develop and play more games. We’ve been waiting for him to be fit and play more regularly.”

On transfer activity over the next week, Solskjaer said: “As I’ve said so many times I’m very confident in my players and if and when something happens with ins and outs we’ll update you.

“In football you can’t predict too much but for me we’re just working on getting better, my focus is solely on the game — can’t be thinking the other way. Then we can talk again.”

Hopefully when Solskjaer talks to the press he’ll have something like a new signing to discuss. That would lift the pressure when answering on United’s lack of transfer activity.

The United manager was also asked more specifically about Chris Smalling’s future. It’s no secret that AS Roma would like the England international to return on a permanent basis, but he remains part of Solskjaer’s squad until a club meets our demands.

When asked if Smalling will get another chance in a United shirt, the Norwegian said: “Different things need to happen, then. So let’s wait and see if there’s that change. Let’s see what happens if and when the transfer window closes and what happens to Chris.”

The Guardian claim Roma are preparing a second bid to sign Smalling, after having an offer worth £11m rejected by Manchester United.

That would suggest Smalling’s future is in the balance and Solskjaer has no interest playing players who are on their way out.

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More Stories Chris Smalling Eric Bailly Harry Maguire Manchester United Ole Gunnar Solskjaer