Man Utd have too many centre-backs after Maguire signing - Solskjaer

Harry Maguire Manchester United Chelsea Premier League 2019
The Manchester United manager believes it will be impossible to keep all of his defenders happy and at least one may have to leave

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted he may have to sell at least one centre-back before September 2 to keep all of his Manchester United players following the £80 million ($97 million) arrival of Harry Maguire.

The Norwegian currently has seven senior central defenders after Maguire's addition to the existing ranks of Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Axel Tuanzebe and Marcos Rojo.

And while Bailly could be missing until Christmas due to a knee injury, Solskjaer says that six is still too many to keep happy without seeking an exit for at least one ahead of the European transfer deadline at the start of September amid reports that Rojo could be encouraged to leave Old Trafford.

Article continues below

“That will be for us to work out, and of course I do have too many centre-backs to keep everyone happy,” Solskjaer told a pre-match press conference ahead of Monday’s Premier League trip to Wolves.

“But we need to win games, we need to perform, so we’re going to pick the players that will give us the biggest chance to win games.”

Maguire and Lindelof helped United to record a clean sheet in the 4-0 win against Chelsea on the opening weekend of the season, and Solskjaer has backed the pair to develop a formidable partnership in front of goalkeeper David de Gea.

Victor Lindelof Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Manchester United

“I think good players can play together with each other. We've only played once, we want the partnership to develop with David at the back,” he added.

“We want to play out from the back but we've got good centre-backs around as well. Axel is knocking on the door, he wants to play. I hope Victor and Harry don't give me a reason to change. No injuries, suspensions or lack of concentration.

“They can both play, they read the game really well. Of course, Harry with his presence in the box, it's great for any centre-back to have that presence next to them. I'm sure Victor will enjoy that.

“Then again, Rojo, Smalling, Jones, Axel, they all want to be part of that. There's competition for those places.”

Phil Jones Chris Smalling Manchester United

The win over Chelsea was also notable for Anthony Martial’s return as first choice in the centre-forward role for the first time since 2015-16, and Solskjaer is keen for the Frenchman and Marcus Rashford to continue their scoring ways after netting three between them in the Old Trafford triumph.

“Anthony’s had spells when he’s played number nine as a centre-forward under Van Gaal, then he’s played on the left the last few years.

“I think him and Marcus both are capable of playing both positions. Sometimes it will be Marcus through the middle and Anthony on the left, or Dan James on the left and maybe one of them on the right.

“But, of course, the goals are scored from between the posts and not the worldies that we’ve seen them score, both of them, Marcus and Anthony with curlers in the top corner or dribble. I want both of them to be more scoring easy goals because you don’t have to work too hard to score them… If you can get five extra goals like this every season, both of them, that’s 10.”