Phil Neville says that Manchester United must spend another £100m on new players before they can seriously think of challenging for the Premier League title again.
Manchester United have had a stuttering start to their season, mustering only five points from as many games and are languishing 12th in the table despite facing three newly promoted sides.
Neville feels that Louis van Gaal needs at least two more transfer windows to turn things around after their shortcomings were brutally exposed in the 5-3 defeat by Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.
The former Manchester United defender feels that United are not yet ready for the title challenge, despite over £150m being spent this summer on Angel Di Maria, Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind and Radamel Falcao.
“I wasn’t surprised with the result,” he said as quoted by The Times. “I know United have spent £150 million. I think there’s another two transfer windows of similar amounts of money needed – maybe £100 million – before they can even thinking about winning the title.
“There are still key positions in the team that need filling. I think the centre-back position is obviously the key area. Holding midfield or centre midfield needs addressing [too].”
The departure of senior players like Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic have left a massive void in the defence; at the same time Manchester United’s failure to replace them with world class central defenders is proving costly.
The club has kept high hopes on Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans, but their progress have been halted due to injuries. Tyler Blackett is an exciting prospect, but he is only 20 and inexperienced. Also, newcomer Marcos Rojo, who joined from Sporting Lisbon last month for £15.8m, needs time to settle in.
The next two transfer windows are absolutely vital for Manchester United, as they badly need to invest heavily on quality central defenders.
But can they really afford to pay another £100m on new players if they fail to qualify for the Champions League next season?