Man United chief John Murtough agrees four-man transfer shortlist with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Manchester United have identified four players to sign in the summer transfer window after a meeting between a number of senior figures including Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, John Murtough and Mike Phelan, according to reports.

The Red Devils are in need of a few additions in order to challenge Manchester City for next season’s Premier League title, and could spend big in the coming months as they look to strengthen their ranks.

United finished 12 points adrift of their cross-city rivals after a frustrating campaign in which Solskjaer’s wait for a first trophy as manager was extended by at least another year.

The club wasted their latest opportunity to claim major honours on Wednesday as they were beaten by Villarreal in the Europa League final after a tense penalty shoot-out.

Solskjaer is known to be pursuing a number of signings ahead of next season, but the result in Gdansk will have amplified the Norwegian’s desire to use the transfer market to his advantage over the next few months.

He is believed to be eyeing the additions of a central defender and a winger, with United’s need for a striker not as immediate thanks to Edinson Cavani’s decision to pen a new one-year contract earlier this month.

Solskjaer and Murtough met on Thursday to discuss their summer recruitment strategy, with the pair eventually agreeing on four priority targets with the potential to move the club forward, according to the Manchester Evening News.

The report claims that Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane, Pau Torres and Declan Rice are the quartet in question, but it remains to be seen whether United will decide to finance moves for all four players.

The Red Devils are long-term admirers of the former and are expected to go back in for his services this summer after failing to secure his signature a year ago.

A move for the England star proved to be a step too far as United were not prepared to meet Dortmund’s nine-figure asking price, but he is believed to be available for a reduced fee of £80million this time around, which could see him finally make the switch to Old Trafford.

Meanwhile, Varane and Torres are being considered for the centre-back role in order to partner Harry Maguire on a long-term basis.

The Real Madrid star has been heavily linked with a move to United, with his current deal set to expire at the end of next season, while Torres excelled in Wednesday’s final and is reported to have a release clause of £43m written into his contract with Villarreal.

Rice is another long-term target, with the 20-time Premier League champions said to have kept a close eye on the West Ham United midfielder’s situation for well over a year.

However, he is likely to cost the Red Devils an arm and a leg this summer, with the Hammers reluctant to let go of their prized asset.

Although Cavani’s extension means that United will not be forced to land a striker as their top priority, the report also claims that Solskjaer has refused to rule out the possibility of signing a brand new No 9.

Tottenham wantaway Harry Kane has recently been mentioned in connection with a move to Old Trafford, but given his reported £200m price tag and City’s status as frontrunners in the race for his signature, it seems as though a move could be difficult to engineer.

Solskjaer admitted earlier this month that he will be hoping to make at least two signings this summer, but highlighted the improvements made during his time at the helm, suggesting that United are on the right track in terms of challenging for silverware.

“I hope that we’re going to strengthen with a few, two or three players we definitely need to challenge higher up in the table,” he said.

“We’re still too far behind to think it is just going to come by itself. We’re planning as we normally do, we have had, it’s not like end of season and let’s see what we do, that’s an ongoing process.

“We are looking at the squad, the players who are going to stay, those who might be leaving.

“We’re not where we aim to be, we’ve got ambitions to move one place further up but it’s been steady improvement, we’ve improved steadily, surely, third last season, second this season with more points.”