Axel Tuanzebe

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Man United expect more arrivals; Pereira, Tuanzebe sign new deals

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Maybe Manchester United won’t splash a lot of cash this summer after all…

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer locked down two academy products to long-term contracts on Friday, as Andreas Pereira and Axel Tuanzebe committed their futures to the Old Trafford club, but he has also been talking about signing new players.

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And it seems like he isn’t that confident off adding more than one new player this summer…

Speaking to Man United’s website as the squad prepare to head to Australia and the Far East for preseason, Solskjaer said he is delighted to have signed Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James this summer and is hoping to make just a couple of new additions between now and the 2019-20 campaign kicking off.

“Well, it’s a long-term and it’s a short-term project. You cannot just think three years down the line, so we’ve got short-term goals as well, of course,” Solskjaer explained. “I think we’ve been quite calm and good in the market as we’ve got the right people, and we’re still working on a case or two. Of course, we’re always looking to improve the squad and, all over the summer, I’ve been in touch with Joel [Glazer] and Ed [Woodward] and all the recruitment people, and analysis people. I’ve got to say it’s been very good so far. I’ve got the backing and we’ve got the people we wanted, for now, and there will probably be some more business being done.”

With United linked with moves for Harry Maguire (United had a $87 million bid turned down by Leicester earlier this week) and Bruno Fernandes among others, those two deals could cost over $200 million to complete. Maguire in particular would be a huge coup with Manchester City also said to be interested in him, as United’s main aim in the transfer this summer is to get younger across the board and better defensively.

It seems like Solskjaer is keeping his cards close to his chest, and the amount of signings he makes will likely depend on which players he can shift on with no UEFA Champions League action to rely on.

As for the players signing new contracts, Pereira, 23, signed a new three-year deal, while Tuanzebe has agreed a three-year contract. There is an option year for both players to extend the deal, as both look like being a part of United’s squad this season.

Pereira featured 29 times for United last season and the Brazilian scored a screamer in a 3-2 win against Southampton, and with Ander Herrera leaving for PSG and Pogba potentially being sold, Pereira adds extra cover in central midfield and a little extra attacking flair.

Tuanzebe, 21, excelled on loan at Aston Villa last season at center back and it was thought he could return to PL new boys Villa for the upcoming campaign. That may still happen, but he will spend preseason with United and try to beat Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Victor Lindelof to one of the starting center back spots.

Pereira and Tuanzebe join Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata in signing new deals at United over the past week and with AWB their new first-choice right back and James set to compete for minutes right away, the squad is starting to look settled and needs to be large to deal with the Thursday-Sunday grind of the UEFA Europa League.

But there is still plenty to sort out.

Both Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku sound like they want to leave this summer and Solskjaer is likely to want that issue resolved as soon as possible so he can bring in replacements.

Solskjaer doesn’t sound certain about other big additions this summer, and that may be worrying for United’s fans who want a huge overhaul between now and Aug. 8 when the window shuts.

Mourinho: Man Utd defense “in trouble”, drafting in Tuanzebe

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Eric Bailly better be ready to roll.

Aside from youngsters, Bailly and Daley Blind are the only fit senior center backs in Manchester United’s set-up after Marcos Rojo joined Phil Jones and Chris Smalling on the injured list during Thursday’s UEFA Europa League win over Anderlecht.

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And manager Jose Mourinho isn’t mincing words about his team’s plight. While Ander Herrera and Ashley Young sat out Thursday’s match and will be ready for Sunday’s match at Burnley, Mourinho looks set to call upon 19-year-old Axel Tuanzebe for help.

From ManUtd.com:

“We are in trouble,” Mourinho said. “We are in trouble.

“Herrera is fresh to play. Ashley Young is fresh to play and who else? Nobody else is fresh to play! Now we need absolutely everyone and I don’t have to think about Axel Tuanzebe going to the Under-20 World Cup in Korea because maybe Axel has to come now. We need everybody.”

Mourinho also lost Zlatan Ibrahimovic to a knee injury on Thursday, and United’s run-in toward the Top Four is anything but easy. With the Europa League also in play to qualify for next season’s UCL, how will Mourinho use his players?

Earlier this week we discussed whether United should focus on Europa for UCL qualification… now that discussion intensifies.