“We have one of the best goalkeepers in the world,” said the Norwegian, but De Gea’s future is far from certain as he holds out for a pay packet at least on par with Sanchez with his current contract set to expire in 2020.
Paul Pogba is also in talks over a new contract and reportedly wants to be the club’s highest earner if United are to ward off interest from Real Madrid.
A run of four defeats and two highly unconvincing 2-1 home wins over Watford and West Ham since United stunned Paris Saint-Germain with a 3-1 win in the French capital to make the last eight has laid bare how much surgery is needed on Solskjaer’s squad, even if they hold onto De Gea and Pogba.
Instead, it is Sanchez they would love to ship out if a buyer can be found to fund his wages.
A Champions League quarter-final at the Camp Nou is exactly the sort of stage United’s number seven was signed for.
But with a £75,000 appearance fee included in his contract, it seems Solskjaer and United have decided there is little point throwing good money after bad.