Solskjaer believes the key to United regaining top spot domestically and in Europe will lie in maximising their existing talents. Photo: Reuters/Matthew Childs//File Photo
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has told Ed Woodward that Manchester United do not need to splash the cash on "superstars" to become serious title challengers again after outlining his long-term vision for the club to the executive vice-chairman.
Jose Mourinho complained repeatedly about the need for United to ramp up their spending in order to compete with Manchester City and Liverpool, despite an outlay of almost £400 million (€457m) in his two and a half years in charge.
United have been accused of scattergun spending in recent years and appeared to be seeking a quick fix when they signed Alexis Sanchez, now 30, on an eye-watering £500,000-a-week four-and-a-half-year contract, 13 months ago.
But Solskjaer believes the key to United regaining top spot domestically and in Europe will lie in maximising their existing talents, as well as careful recruitment, with an emphasis on quality over quantity.
The priority for United - who will move above Chelsea into fourth if they beat Fulham at Craven Cottage this lunchtime in what Solskjaer called a "character revealer" - is to sign a pedigree centre-half this summer, with Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly among the targets.
Asked how many additions United would need in the summer to become title challengers, Solskjaer said: "It is about who we've got here as well. If every single player can improve by one or two per cent. It is not (about) buying a superstar that will fix things and we go from challenging (for) the top four to being champions."
Solskjaer believes the age profile of United's squad offers huge scope for improvement but as well as seeing the younger players, such as Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw kicking on, the caretaker manager wants Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard to push on to the next level and an uplift in performance from experienced heads, Sanchez included.
"The club and the team can, yes," Solskjaer said when asked if United were good enough to compete for all trophies.
"If you look at the players, the age of them, they're young and they've got plenty of development in them.
"But we also need some experienced players to stay, step up and become leaders."
Having won nine of his 10 games in interim charge, Solskjaer has made no secret of his desire to land the manager's job on a permanent basis and has already spelt out his vision of how he believes the team will look two years from now.
"I think we're too far behind this year. But two years' time is long enough, but also short enough, to say that we've got the possibility to make a big difference."
Meanwhile, England defender Phil Jones has signed a new 41/2-year contract that ties him to United until June 2023, with the option of a further 12 months. (© The Daily Telegraph, London)