By Warren Haughton
23rd July 2019
The pressure is on Ed Woodward to deliver in the summer transfer window for Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
It was all going perfectly with just one defeat in 17 games after replacing Jose Mourinho, culminating in that famous night in Paris beating PSG in the Champions League.
But it all started to fall apart, and the reasons why Mourinho was sacked were staring Solskjaer in the face.
And to his credit so far this summer, the United executive vice-chairman has done his bit.
Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka are on board, with the prospect of more additions to come.
Major signings loom large as odds on incomings tumble
Leicester City defender Harry Maguire has made it clear he wants out of the King Power before next month’s big kick off and fancies following in the footsteps of his heroes Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.
Maguire is 1/7 to make the move to Old Trafford and 4/1 to join Manchester City whose need to add a central defender is nowhere near as desperate as United’s.
And if Woodward can bag the 26-year-old and secure the highly-rated Sporting Lisbon midfielder Bruno Fernandes, there should be no complaints from the Old Trafford faithful about their summer business.
Reports suggest the Portuguese giants a braced for a bid from United for the 24-year-old who hit a staggering 32 goals last term.
Fernandes is 2/7 to move to United, but they will have to move fast as Tottenham are reportedly monitoring his situation.
Add the huge bonus of Paul Pogba potentially sticking around, and all of a sudden closing the gap on Liverpool and City looks a little less daunting.
While in Japan, the French World Cup winner suggested “it could be the right time to have a new challenge somewhere else.”
Solskjaer has to convince his best player his new challenge is to get United back winning titles.
Bernabeu binge brings about Pogba-to-Real odds drift
Real Madrid and Juventus have registered their interest – but they will have to shell out a whopping £180million to land the 26-year-old.
Pogba enjoyed his most productive club campaign hitting 16 goals despite United finishing sixth in the league.
The Spanish giants have splashed out £272m on new recruits including Eden Hazard and could struggle to anywhere near United’s valuation.
And as the summer has progressed, Pogba’s odds on a move to the Bernabeu have drifted to 8/11.
But United’s biggest conundrum could be Romelu Lukaku.
The Lukaku conundrum
Will Solskjaer put all his eggs in the Marcus Rashford basket and flog the Belgian striker to Inter Milan?
Lukaku is a striker who thrives on service, and that was in short supply last year as United struggled to open teams up.
The Belgian scored 23 goals last season, but just 13 were for his club side.
And the stats tell a damning story – last term Pogba and Rashford both chipped in with seven “big chances created” a shocking joint 42nd in the league.
And Rashford will need to up his game big time if he will be the main source of goals.
Worryingly, the England striker’s best ever goal haul for United is 13, his tally for the last two seasons.
And despite Lukaku having a poor season, he is a proven goal scorer in the English top flight.
But could goals scoring help be on its way to Old Trafford in the shape of Pierre Emerick Aubameyang?
Reports suggest the Gabon hitman is on United’s shopping list and the Gunners resolve will be severely tested with claims of a £62m bid for the forward who has bagged 32 goals in 48 league games.