LONDON • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could discard as many as six players, including Alexis Sanchez, this summer as the Manchester United manager targets a right-back and central defender to build a squad capable of challenging for the Premier League title next season.
The summer window will be the Norwegian's first as the permanent boss and he is willing to sell Sanchez, 30, who has proved a failure with only three league goals since joining from Arsenal in January last year in a swop deal involving Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
The Chile international's salary of £350,000 (S$473,670) a week may prove an obstacle to any potential transfer, though, with the forward's contract running until 2022.
United's broad transfer policy is to bring in three players and sell three each summer, but that number may be doubled in both instances given that the club are some way behind their rivals.
It would represent the biggest turnover of players since 2015, when Louis van Gaal sold six senior players and allowed Tom Cleverley and goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard to leave on free transfers, and bought six full internationals.
Marcos Rojo and Matteo Darmian will be sold.
Antonio Valencia, 33, the club captain, has also been told that his contract, which expires in June, will not be renewed.
Juan Mata and Ander Herrera are also out of contract in the summer and the club are not close to agreeing deals with either player.
Although Herrera, 29, has become a regular under Solskjaer, United are seeking a top-class central midfielder as a regular alongside Paul Pogba, whom the manager rates as key to a credible title challenge next season.
Atletico Madrid's Saul Niguez is among their top targets, with the Spain international, 24, wanting to move to England this summer.
United will not allow goalkeeper David de Gea to leave this summer even though he has 14 months left on his deal and Real Madrid are interested in signing him.
Despite having been in negotiations for 18 months, United are confident that the Spain international, 28, will commit to the club.
They also want to sign a right-back, at least one centre-half, a forward and one or two midfielders, depending on Herrera's decision.
Ideally, Solskjaer would like to buy more British players and develop a home-grown core to his team, just like his former manager Alex Ferguson used to.
Declan Rice, the West Ham midfielder, is on his wish list, as is Callum Hudson-Odoi, the Chelsea forward, who has 14 months left on his contract.
Jadon Sancho, the Borussia Dortmund winger, has also been linked while Aaron Wan-Bissaka, the 21-year-old Crystal Palace and England Under-21 defender, is being considered for the right-back slot.
THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN