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Quality, not quantity, matters as Manchester United seek to strengthen


Adnan Januzaj's Manchester United future is in doubt after an underwhelming spell at Sunderland

Adnan Januzaj's Manchester United future is in doubt after an underwhelming spell at Sunderland

Adnan Januzaj's Manchester United future is in doubt after an underwhelming spell at Sunderland

Manchester United are targeting three or four high-quality summer acquisitions as Jose Mourinho looks to turn his side into title contenders.

The Portuguese has enjoyed a promising first season in the Old Trafford dugout, with EFL Cup and Community Shield success followed by Europa League glory on Wednesday.

The 2-0 defeat of Ajax brings with it a welcome return to the Champions League, having finished sixth in a frustrating Premier League campaign.

However, the seven-point gap to fourth is less of a concern than the 24 points that separated Mourinho from champions Chelsea - something the club is determined to close next term.

Transfer planning has long been afoot as Mourinho looks to strengthen and Press Association Sport understands the club intend to bring in three or four quality targets.

Unlike the sweeping summer signings made by Louis van Gaal, United are looking for quality over quantity as they attempt to build a squad capable of challenging for the title.

Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann is said to be top of their summer wish list, with the France international recently admitting there was a six out of 10 chance of joining United.

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The attacker has a 100 million euros (£86.7million) buyout clause in his contract, while Burnley's Michael Keane and Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic are among others reportedly on United's radar.

"(The agents) don't have my number," Mourinho told BT Sport.

"It doesn't matter if it's Champions League or not, Ed Woodward (the United executive vice-chairman) has my analysed (targets).

"He has what I want, what I would like, for more than two months.

"So now it's for him, for the owners, for the people that work with him and I just wait but I don't care about football now."

Behind the scenes at United there is an expectation that the transfer market will be crazy this summer.

The increased financial clout of those in the Premier League means smaller clubs can now reject huge offers and vie for higher profile players, while investment at clubs abroad has made the market harder to operate in.

United, though, are in a stronger position than most given finance and history has been complemented by securing Champions League qualification on Wednesday.

There are also likely to be outgoings this summer.

After the lifting the Europa League, captain Wayne Rooney says he has "more or less" made a decision about his United future but will speak with his family before making it public.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's future is unclear as United's injured top scorer is out of contract this summer, when Michael Carrick - awarded a testimonial - also sees his deal at expire.

David De Gea has been strongly linked with a move to Real Madrid - a club he was so close to joining two years ago - and several other first-team members are the subject of speculation.

Andreas Pereira should get a first-team chance in pre-season after a promising loan spell in LaLiga with Granada, but Adnan Januzaj looks set to leave after an underwhelming time at relegated Sunderland.

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and James Wilson have seen their star fade this season, so too Guillermo Varela.

By contrast 19-year-old defender Axel Tuanzebe has bolstered his chances of being a first-team regular, while Josh Harrop, Scott McTominay, Angel Gomes, Zak Dearnley, Demetri Mitchell and Matty Willock have been involved in the first-team squad recently.

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