After 30 years in professional football and over a decade in management, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should probably know that anything he says is liable to be caught on camera.
In an unguarded moment after Manchester United’s 5-2 win against Bournemouthat the weekend, however, he appeared to reveal a significant detail of his summer transfer plans.
Commiserating with Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake after the final whistle, Solskjaer said: “We need a left-footed centre-back, so keeping going.” His comment was picked up by BT Sport’s audio and has been widely shared on social media, which will no doubt lead to some awkward questions at his next press conference.
It came across as a light-hearted aside, in fairness, but there’s truth in jest. Marcos Rojo looks set to leave Old Trafford for good this summer, leaving Solskjaer in need of reinforcements on the left side of defence.
Harry Maguire has generally been deployed as United’s left-sided centre-back this season and, injuries notwithstanding, he should be first choice for the foreseeable. He’s right-footed, however, and the same goes for Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe.
Solskjaer needs options in defence and it would make sense for him to address United’s right-footed bias.
Whether or not he’ll be able to land Ake is another question entirely. While the Dutch international could well be available this summer if Bournemouth are relegated, as looks likely, he has also been linked with a return to Chelsea.
Were Ake to move elsewhere, here are three left-footed centre-backs Solskjaer might consider instead.