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Gary Neville makes grim Man Utd prediction for next season unless Solskjaer goes on huge transfer spending spree

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gary neville makes grim man utd prediction for next season unless solskjaer goes on huge transfer spending spree

MANCHESTER UNITED will not challenge for the title next season unless they spend big this summer, claimed Gary Neville.

The former Red Devils defender claimed the current squad do not have the depth to compete with the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City.

Gary Neville has urged Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to make more signings

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Gary Neville has urged Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to make more signings Credit: PA:Press Association

United were unbeaten in 19 games across all competitions until the FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side now need to just one point from their final league game against Leicester to secure a Champions League spot.

But Neville, 45, has insisted his former club need more of the “right additions”.

He told Sky Sports: “I don’t think this Manchester United team at this moment can challenge for the title this season.

“It needs more additions and more of the right additions.

“To be fair to Ole, in the time he has been at the club, I think the players he has brought in have improved his team enormously.


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“I think that he needs three or four more of those as a minimum before he can even think about getting up into third or second place.

“My concern isn’t really for the front three or the midfield three, it’s the depth and the drop that you have beneath that talent.

“When I say that Manchester United need a centre-forward, that’s not me saying they should sell Anthony Martial.

“They need a centre-forward because Manchester United should have two or three great centre-forwards.

“They should have two or three great wingers. Not just one in each position.”



United will reportedly make a “take it or leave it” £80million offer to Dortmund for Jadon Sancho.

And SunSport exclusively revealed they have joined the race for Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake.

In a bid to add depth to his squad, Solskjaer has also set his sights on ex-Everton star Idrissa Gueye.

Manchester United are third in the table after 37 games

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Manchester United are third in the table after 37 gamesCredit: Rex Features
Neil Custis expects huge things from Man Utd’s Mason Greenwood in the future

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Manchester United have no defence for spending £182m on a bloated band of lacklustre centre-backs

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manchester united have no defence for spending 182m on a bloated band of lacklustre centre backs

There were times during Manchester United‘s 3-1 defeat by Crystal Palace that their defence resembled a jigsaw puzzle with several pieces missing. 

Much of their problems stemmed from a lack of pace at centre-back, where Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof continued the partnership they formed last season.

Palace’s front three of Jordan Ayew, Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend exploited them with relentless direct running and balls in behind the back four.

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is reluctant to sign a centre-back depsite issues

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is reluctant to sign a centre-back depsite issues

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is reluctant to sign a centre-back depsite issues

United were lacklustre in defence as they were beaten 3-1 by Crystal Palace on Saturday

United were lacklustre in defence as they were beaten 3-1 by Crystal Palace on Saturday

United were lacklustre in defence as they were beaten 3-1 by Crystal Palace on Saturday

Victor Lindelof was criticised for another poor showing and a lack of pace that was exposed

Victor Lindelof was criticised for another poor showing and a lack of pace that was exposed

Victor Lindelof was criticised for another poor showing and a lack of pace that was exposed

United were also masters of their own downfall. Despite a solid display, Axel Tuanzebe’s selection ahead of Aaron Wan-Bissaka deprived United of a player who thrives against tricky, pacy wingers.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer didn’t offer an explanation for that decision and doesn’t appear in a hurry to add another centre-back to his squad either after prioritising a new right winger and a back up left-back to deputise for Luke Shaw. 

That decision is a puzzling one. Despite boasting eight first-team centre-backs, who have cost a combined £173 million, United are desperately short of quality and pace at the heart of their back four.

The pace and direct running of Palace's front three gave United's centre-back problems

The pace and direct running of Palace's front three gave United's centre-back problems

The pace and direct running of Palace’s front three gave United’s centre-back problems

Solskjaer's decision to play Axel Tuanzebe ahead of Aaron Wan-Bissaka also raised eyebrows

Solskjaer's decision to play Axel Tuanzebe ahead of Aaron Wan-Bissaka also raised eyebrows

Solskjaer’s decision to play Axel Tuanzebe ahead of Aaron Wan-Bissaka also raised eyebrows

Much of the post-match criticism was aimed at Lindelof, who is yet to convince since his £30m arrival from Benfica in July 2017 during Jose Mourinho’s time in charge. 

United’s costly defensive mistakes 

Harry Maguire: £80m

Victor Lindelof: £30m

Eric Bailly: £30m 

Phil Jones: £16  

Marcos Rojo: £16m 

Chris Smalling: £10m 

Total: £182m 

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While comfortable on the ball, Lindelof has displayed an inability to remain calm under pressure – a deficiency that was laid bare during United’s defeat by Manchester City at Old Trafford last season. 

The 26-year-old has also shown a worrying tendency to lose concentration at critical moments – notably when United conceded a late equaliser against Southampton last season, which resulted in an on-pitch scuffle with an angry Bruno Fernandes.

Solskjaer has options – the problem is that they aren’t very good ones. With Chris Smalling seemingly on the verge of a move to Roma, Solskjaer’s back-ups come in the form of Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Eric Bailly, Axel Tuanzebe and unproven youngster Teden Mengi.

Jones appears unlikely to feature outside of Carabao Cup games, while Rojo spent last season on loan at Estudiantes. Bailly’s injury problems have been an issue throughout his four years at the club, while Tuanzebe hadn’t played a first team game for United in three years prior to his resurrection at the end of last season.

Solskjaer could point to cold hard numbers as justification for his reluctance to signing another defender. Last season, United conceded just 37 Premier League goals – 18 fewer than the 2018/19 campaign and the third-best defensive record in the division. 

Solskjaer could turn to Eric Bailly but the defender has struggled with injuries for four years

Solskjaer could turn to Eric Bailly but the defender has struggled with injuries for four years

Solskjaer could turn to Eric Bailly but the defender has struggled with injuries for four years

Phil Jones's regression means he's unlikely to feature outside of Carabao Cup games

Phil Jones's regression means he's unlikely to feature outside of Carabao Cup games

Phil Jones’s regression means he’s unlikely to feature outside of Carabao Cup games

Chris Smalling is arguably United's best back-up but looks set to move to Roma permanently

Chris Smalling is arguably United's best back-up but looks set to move to Roma permanently

Chris Smalling is arguably United’s best back-up but looks set to move to Roma permanently

Marcos Rojo spent last season on loan at Estudiantes and is way down the pecking order

Marcos Rojo spent last season on loan at Estudiantes and is way down the pecking order

Marcos Rojo spent last season on loan at Estudiantes and is way down the pecking order

He could also point to the potential upside of an improved David de Gea, who was directly at fault for several of those conceded goals last season and could help United to build on that defensive record if he can reproduce his best form. 

Another solution could be a structural shift. In 2017/18 United conceded just 28 goals and one fewer the season before as they played a 4-2-3-1 formation with two holding midfielders under Mourinho. 

While not easy on the eye, United’s centre-backs were given the necessary protection to mask their defensive flaws and Solskjaer could opt to move Pogba further back alongside Nemanja Matic or Scott McTominay. 

Teenager Teden Mengi has impressed for the under-23s but is unlikely to feature regularly yet

Teenager Teden Mengi has impressed for the under-23s but is unlikely to feature regularly yet

Teenager Teden Mengi has impressed for the under-23s but is unlikely to feature regularly yet 

One option that looks a little too soon for now, could also emerge from within the club’s pool of talented prospects. Manchester-born centre-back Mengi has been outstanding for the club’s under-23 side and impressed in the 6-0 EFL Trophy win over Salford City.

He was given his first appearance against Rochdale in the Carabao Cup last season and was also included in several first team squads – his latest coming as an unused sub in Tuesday’s win at Luton – and could be handed a chance if United’s defensive frailties worsen. 

No doubt Solskjaer would love to open the chequebook once more and splash out on Dayot Upamecano. That move has several obstacles, however, as many of Europe’s biggest clubs are also chasing the RB Leipzig star, who only signed a new contract in July that runs until the summer of 2023. United would have to spend big money, but they would need to offload some of their surplus defenders first.

In the meantime, United fans must hope Solskjaer and his mediocre and bloated band of centre-backs can find a swift solution to their woes.

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8am Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Aouar bid LATEST, Partey deal ‘scuppered by Morata’, Torreira to Atletico is ‘close’

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8am arsenal transfer news live aouar bid latest partey deal scuppered by morata torreira to atletico is close

ARSENAL are hoping to secure the signature of Thomas Partey and may have received a boost with Lucas Torreira set to join his current club Atletico Madrid.

However, other reports suggest Atleti’s sale of Alvaro Morata to Juventus has made them less inclined to sell Partey.

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8am Man Utd transfer news LIVE: Ousmane Dembele bid LATEST, Telles ‘expects to join THIS WEEK’, Upamecano interest

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8am man utd transfer news live ousmane dembele bid latest telles expects to join this week upamecano interest

ALEX TELLES is reportedly confident of joining Manchester United this week and linking up with the squad before Saturday’s game at Brighton.

Meanwhile the Red Devils are also reported to have made a loan bid for Ousmane Dembele, as they look at alternatives to Jadon Sancho.

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