Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson always liked having a squad full of leaders in order to give the club the best possible chance of winning silverware. And Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appears to be copying the Scot’s transfer tactic, with the Norwegian eyeing summer deals for Jack Grealish and Matthijs de Ligt.
Ferguson always valued leadership and, throughout his time at Manchester United, possessed soldiers everywhere on the pitch.
He had his strong captains, such as Eric Cantona, Bryan Robson, Roy Keane and Gary Neville.
But Ferguson was also a master when it came to adding mental strength in every department, signing many players over the years who were capable of marshalling the troops.
Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney were never official club captains throughout Ferguson’s reign.
But they’re just three examples of the players he had. The trio were all vital at keeping the squad together and steering them to success galore, while the same can be said for Robin van Persie during his final year in charge.
Ferguson knew having role models in the dressing room would lead to success on the pitch.
And, this summer, Solskjaer appears set to follow the Scot’s lead by adding more leaders to his ranks.
Leaders are what have helped United suddenly close the gap on Chelsea and look the likeliest of the lot to finish in the Champions League qualifying slots.
And, in De Ligt and Grealish, two more could follow.
De Ligt was made Ajax captain at the age of just 17 and excelled in the role, helping them reach the Champions League semi-finals last year.
And while he’s struggled at Juventus since his summer arrival, he still sets a high standard within the dressing room.
Grealish has stirred controversy for breaching quarantine rules recently by going to a friend’s house.
But United have admired his leadership skills for some time, despite his recent mistake.
Grealish was mature in how he handled the situation in the aftermath, apologising on social media and vowing to do better.
While he should certainly have stayed indoors to begin with, it was a bold thing to do – particularly given he backlash.
He could have released a statement through the club.
But Grealish fronted up at a tricky time and United remain keen on signing him when the transfer window reopens this summer.
This United side remains young and in need of direction, despite Maguire’s improvement and Fernandes’ impact.
And if Grealish and De Ligt sign on the dotted line, then Solskjaer will show more signs of following Ferguson’s lead.