Solskjaer lets slip interest in signing Bournemouth’s Ake
United manager drops hint to centre-back after match Midfielder Matic awarded fresh three-year contract
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appeared to reveal that he wants to sign a leftfooted centre-back in a post-match exchange with Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake.
Solskjaer wants to replace Marcos Rojo with another left-footed defender this summer and Ake appears to be on the club’s radar, after Solskjaer apparently told the Dutchman: “We need a left-footed centre-back, so keep going.”
Chelsea have the option to reing, sign Ake for around £40million in the next transfer window, although that fee would almost certainly come down if Bournemouth are relegated. But Frank Lampard’s admission that he may need to add greater height to his squad may see Chelsea look elsewhere for a central defender, despite the admiration at Stamford Bridge for Ake.
Manchester City have also been taking an interest in Ake for some time, but they could face competition from United following Solskjaer’s quick chat with the player.
The exchange was broadcast by BT Sport at the end of United’s 5-2 victory over Bournemouth on Saturday, although subtitles to accompany the audio read: “You need a bit of luck from your centre-backs.”
But United fans were quick to point out that the audio seemed to contradict the subtitles, with Solskjaer actually appearing to reveal his transfer plans to Ake.
Solskjaer has Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof as his first-choice central-defensive pairing and the duo are both right-footed.
Rojo will be allowed to leave Old Trafford this summer, which makes the need to bring in a left-footer even greater.
But Solskjaer is likely to prioritise using his money on a new striker and right-sided player before United move for a defender, whether it is Ake or somebody else. United had also been considering signing a defensive midfielder, although Nemanja Matic has penned a new three-year contract.
Matic said: “I am very happy that I will continue to be part of this great club. As a player, I still have a lot more to give and achieve in my career, and to do that with Manchester United will be a huge honour.
“This is a really exciting team to be part of. We have a good balance of youth and experience within the squad and there is great camaraderie amongst the group. This is a key part of the season and we are playing well. We will continue to fight to finish the season on a high and make our amazing supporters proud.”
Solskjaer said: “I am delighted that Nemanja has signed a new contract, I know his experience, professionalism and leadership will be invaluable to this young, talented group.”
Exchange: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer talks to Nathan Ake after United’s 5-2 victory