Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: 'So Many Players' Want to Join Manchester United 'Rebuild'

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 11, 2019

Manchester United's Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gives a thumbs up on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on December 7, 2019. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /  (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
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Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is confident the Red Devils will have no problem attracting players to help them get back to the top of English football.Β 

United have only finished in the Premier League's top four twice since Sir Alex Ferguson left in 2013. This season, they sit fifth after 16 games, five points behind Chelsea in fourth.

Solskjaer said:

"Agents might not want them to, but players will want to come here.

"I don't speak to too many agents. United are the biggest and best in the world, and I'm sure there's so many players in the world who want to be part of the rebuild.Β 

"Our players and fans enjoy our football and opposition players will like to be part of it as well."

According to The Athletic's Laurie Whitwell (h/t Metro), the Red Devils are eager to sign three players in January, two midfielders and a striker.

Squawka's Muhammad Butt hopes they'll do so:

Muhammad Butt @muhammadbutt

if United sign two of those three in January, they will be serious business in the second half of the season. if they don't then it'll still be patchy nonsense.

Leicester City playmaker James Maddison and Red Bull Salzburg forward Erling Haaland are said to be among their top targets.

The former, who turned 23 in November, has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water since he moved to Leicester last year from Norwich City.

Maddison has seven goals to his name in 17 games this season, and he laid on his third assist in all competitions with Sunday's corner for former United centre-back Jonny Evans:

Sky Sports Premier League @SkySportsPL

A perfectly placed header from Jonny Evans! 🎯 #LCFC start the second-half in style...πŸ”₯ πŸ“Ί Watch on Sky Sports Premier League πŸ“± Follow #AVLLEI here: https://t.co/uHc0ejOrMa πŸ“² Download the @SkySports app! https://t.co/ntLTU2dycz

Football statistician Dave O'Brien shared his numbers from Leicester's 4-1 win over Villa:

Statman Dave @StatmanDave

James Maddison vs. Aston Villa: 21/24 final third passes 9 ball recoveries 7 fouls suffered 5 chances created 2 interceptions 2 tackles won 1 assist Creative masterclass. πŸ‘ŒπŸ‘ŒπŸ‘Œ https://t.co/GOODXbN70B

United don't have a great deal of creativity in their team outside of Paul Pogba, and the Frenchman has missed most of the season with an ankle injury.

As for Haaland, he could offer the Red Devils more of a goalscoring threat up front. United have scored 25 Premier League goals this season, fewer than Liverpool, Leicester, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.

Haaland, 19, has emerged as one of the hottest prospects in Europe this season as he's bagged 28 goals and seven assists in 22 matches for Red Bull.

Of those goals, eight came in the UEFA Champions League group stage as he found the net in five of the six games against Genk, Liverpool and Napoli.

After such an explosive period, it seems only a matter of time until he moves on to a more illustrious club. Having previously scored 20 goals in 50 games under Solskjaer at Molde, Old Trafford could be a likely destination.

Maddison won't be an easy acquisition, though, particularly in January. Leicester held out for Β£80 million when United wanted Harry Maguire in the summer, so they'd likely want at least a similar fee to part with another key player midseason.

What's more, as appealing as United may be given their size, history and resources, the Foxes are in a much better place.

Leicester are 14 points above the Red Devils in second, Champions League qualification looks likely and they could be the only team capable of challenging Liverpool for the title this season. It's unsurprising the Foxes' key players are attracting plenty of attention, but they have little reason to leave.