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06th Jan 2019

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to meet with Ed Woodward over move for new defender

Robert Redmond

He could help solve a problem in central defence.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has won all five of his games as interim Manchester United manager.

However, if he can convince the United board to sign a new central defender, it could be his greatest victory as United boss so far.

Jose Mourinho tried to do so in the summer but to no avail.

According to reports, Solskjaer will meet with Ed Woodward, the United executive vice-chairman, and discuss the possibility of making a move for Nikola Milenkovic in the January transfer window.

The 21-year-old Serbian central defender has impressed for Fiorentina this season, scoring twice in 18 appearances.

Milenkovic would cost United at least £45m (€50m), but he could help solve an issue in a problem position for the club.

Victor Lindelof’s performances have improved under Solskjaer and Eric Bailly has the potential to be a top-class central defender, but Phil Jones and Chris Smalling remain unconvincing.

Mourinho pushed hard for a new defender during the summer transfer window, but Woodward wouldn’t sanction a deal for any of his targets.

The United executive may have changed his stance and Solskjaer is likely to be consulted on any potential transfers this month.

But the most likely outcome is that Woodward waits until the summer, when United will have a permanent manager and possibly a director of football, before giving the green light to any new transfers.

United are also understood to be interested in Kalidou Koulibaly.

However, Napoli are reluctant to let Koulibaly leave. During a meeting with senior United officials, they reportedly quoted a transfer fee of over £90m (€100m) for the central defender.

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