Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has identified the right-side of midfield as the priority area for strengthening at Manchester United, sources have told ESPN FC.
United go into Saturday’s home game against Brighton already 10 points adrift of the top four, with Solskjaer’s team winning just three of their 11 Premier League games so far this season.
The Norwegian has been told by United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward that his position as manager is not under threat, despite recent results, and Solskjaer is pressing ahead with plans to reshape the squad he inherited from the sacked Jose Mourinho last December.
And although United sources have told ESPN FC that the club will only make signings in January if long-term targets become available, reinforcements down the team’s right-hand side have become a key aspect of Solskjaer’s recruitment drive.
United solved their long-standing issues at right-back by completing the £50 million signing of Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace during the summer, and Solskjaer has been impressed by speed of the 21-year-old’s adaptation to life at Old Trafford.
But Solskjaer and his coaching staff believe that United now need an attacking right-sided midfielder to complement Wan-Bissaka’s defensive strengths and boost the team’s creativity and goal threat from that side of the pitch.
Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Daniel James can operate down the right flank, but each of them has proved to be more effective on the left, leaving Solskjaer with limited options down the right, including the 31-year-old Juan Mata.
Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho has been a long-term United target, but Solskjaer’s immediate preference is for a player who can strengthen his midfield, as well as the right side of the pitch.
A new central midfielder is also on Solskjaer’s wanted list, but solving the right-sided problem has emerged as the priority.