Gary Neville fears that Manchester United will miss out on the top-four if they don’t act fast.
This summer has seen players like Alex Telles, Jadon Sancho, Dayot Upamecano, Kalidou Koulibaly, Jack Grealish, and countless other players linked with a summer move to Manchester United, but it’s just Donny Van De Beek’s that’s the only new face at the club and Gary Neville has had enough.
While Chelsea, Liverpool, and Man City have all strengthened their squads, United’s recent 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace has really turned the pressure up on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ed Woodward.
Aside from this, former players like Patrice Evra are also weighing-in on United’s lack of transfer activity and speaking on the Gary Neville Podcast, Sky Sports pundit Neville has warned his former side that unless a number of new signings are made before the transfer window closes on October 5, they could face missing out on a top-four finish this season.
However, the former United captain has a theory about why United have been static in the window do far, it’s because they previously paid over the odds for players who didn’t deliver.
“Because of what has happened in the last eight years, people have lost their confidence and they have now tried to go the other way in terms of, ‘we can’t now overpay’,” he said.
A few examples, Harry Maguire (£80m), Diogo Dalot (£19m), Fred (£47m), Romelu Lukaku (£75m), Nemanja Matic (£40m), Eric Bailly (£30m), the fact that Alexis Sanchez cost them £13.2m per goal.
On this note, it’s understandable that United want to be more prudent in the transfer market, but Neville thinks that United have problems getting deals done, especially compared to their rivals.
“You see Liverpool getting a player for £40m, £25m, you see other clubs do it, Werner is quite cheap compared to some of the prices of players you see in the market and United always seem to have to pay top dollar and the people at the club will not like that, almost as though they are easy pickings. And there is a suggestion of that.
“The problem is, they have to find a way to get deals done and they can’t get deals done efficiently. And it is negligence not to get the squad in place, they have had six months since March when lockdown was on being able to deliberate, do zoom calls, connect with agents, move things into place.”
Gary Neville on the issues at Manchester United
Alex Ferguson and David Gill were quite adept at getting transfers finalised early in pre-season because Fergie always wanted to give his new signings time to acclimatise to their new environment. However, that’s not the case with Ed Woodward this season.
“There is no excuse really for not getting your transfers done before the start of the season. They need four or five players, so to only get one done… I know Liverpool have only got theirs done in the last couple of days, but there is a feeling they are in control,” said Neville.
He adds: “United have got the money – if they can spend £90m-100m on Sancho, they have got the money to do the deals. They have not got the quality or experience of football people within that club, it looks like a convoluted and complex structure, I’m not quite sure where the decisions lie.”
The former England defender also feels that United’s issues in the transfer market aren’t just confined to this window, but rather the last few seasons.
Manchester United’s recent failures in the transfer market
“Liverpool are definite, they are precise. Look at Chelsea, they are definite and precise, Man City are, but Man Utd do not seem able to get their business done. And that, unfortunately, has been a massive problem, whether it be signing the wrong player….I think the recruitment has been better and more precise in the last 18 months.
“But there is still that issue of not being able to get the players over the line quickly enough, in the building, with the squad, to get that team ready for the start of the season. And then you end up with that on Saturday and what that does is make them weaker, because now clubs who they are wanting players off will be looking it and thinking, ‘we will relax because they are going to come and knock on my door, they are going to have to’.”
Having finished 33 points behind champions Liverpool, it’s unlikely that a few new signings are going to bridge that massive gap.
However, additions like Bruno Fernandes do indicate that the right recruitment can make a massive difference to the Manchester United team, but Gary Neville has sounded a stark warning to those in charge of the club, if they don’t get some new additions, United will stay in the title wilderness for much longer.
A warning to the Manchester United board
“That is the problem Man Utd have got – they have not got the authority and control in the transfer market. The people who are hearing these words and seeing them, they will not like it. But they have got to hear it, because they are not doing their jobs. The football players on the pitch did not do their jobs, the manager is going to get accused of not doing his job.
“The people in the stands whose job is to put that team on the pitch, build a football team that can win the league and the people in the stand who have been at Man Utd for eight years now have not had the ability to build a football team that can win the league. And that is a problem, that is your job – to build a football team to win the league and they have not been able to do it. And they have to find a way of doing it quickly as these years are going to drag on.”