Virgil van Dijk became the most expensive defender in history when Liverpool forked out £75m to sign him from Southampton in January 2018.
The Dutchman’s contribution to Liverpool’s success since his arrival has been incredible – leading them to Champions League glory this season as well as picking up PFA Player of the Year.
Liverpool ran Manchester City right to the wire in this year’s Premier League title and once again their defence played a huge part in their historic treble.
The Reds conceded just 22 goals in the league last season while champions City conceded 23 – Manchester United conceded 54.
Jose Mourinho made it clear in his final few months at United that a new defender needed to be the club’s priority but his requests fell on deaf ears.
But with Solskjaer now desperate to recruit two new defensive additions in the way of Crystal Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Leicester’s Harry Maguire, the Norwegian may finally get his wish.
The London Evening Standard claim Woodward now realises how important it is to break the bank for a defender having seen Liverpool’s rise since Van Dijk’s arrival on Merseyside.
United’s hierarchy acknowledge the 27-year-old’s importance now makes his transfer fee look like a small bargain.
But Woodward and Co. do not reportedly feel it was Van Dijk’s transfer that represented a ‘watershed moment’ in terms of transfer fees for defenders.
Instead, Kyle Walker’s £50m transfer from Tottenham to City is viewed as the turning point.
And it seems both of those deals are now playing a part in United’s transfer strategy this summer.
Despite moving away from signing household names they are willing to spend big on young, hungry, English talent in the hope it finally adds some stability to their defence and can prove to be a platform to build on.
Whatever new defensive signings Solskjaer ends up with, he’ll hope to have them in his squad before their first pre-season match against Perth Glory on July 13.