Manchester United legend Gary Neville believes his former club fear they are “easy pickings” in the transfer market – and have been reluctant to spend as a result.
The Red Devils have spent over the odds to land top targets in recent years but have so far refused to meet Borussia Dortmund’s demands for Jadon Sancho.
Their shortcomings were laid bare with an opening day defeat against Crystal Palace at the weekend and Neville believes they can have no excuse.
But his theory is that the club simply “have not got the authority and control in the transfer market” – in stark contrast to rivals such as Liverpool, who are “in control” and last week landed Champions League winner Thiago Alcantara for a modest fee.
“Not feeling like they want to get done in the market, because of what has happened in the last eight years, I think the people there (at United) have lost their confidence and they’ve tried to now go the other way in terms of, ‘we can’t overpay’,” Neville said on The Gary Neville podcast.
“You see Liverpool getting a player for £40million, for £25million. [Timo] Werner [at Chelsea ] obviously is quite cheap compared to some of the prices you see in the market.
” Manchester United always seem to have to pay top dollar. I don’t think the people at the club will like that. They’ll feel 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. It is negligence to not get the squad in place.
“They have had six months to get the squad in place since lockdown. So much time to be able to deliberate, Zoom call, scout and connect with agents.
Manchester United are looking to plot their path back to the top. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has already brought in Donny van de Beek but Jadon Sancho remains Manchester United’s number one target.
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“There is no excuse for not getting your deals done sort of towards the start of the season. They needed four or five players. I know Liverpool have only got theirs done in the last couple of days, but there is a feeling that Liverpool are in control.
“It’s easier when they are champions but Manchester United have the money. If they can spend 90 to 100million on Sancho, they’ve got the money to do the deals.
“They haven’t got the quality and the experience of football people with the right experience in the club. It looks like a complex, convoluted structure. I’m not sure where the decisions lie.
“Liverpool and Chelsea are definite and precise, same with Manchester City. United don’t seem to be able to get their business done and that unfortunately has been a massive problem, whether it be signing the wrong players…
“United’s recruitment has been better in the last 18 months but there is still that issue of them not being able to get deals over the line quick enough to get the squad together in time for the start of the season and you end up with that yesterday (against Palace).
“What yesterday does is make them weaker because now clubs that they want players off are going to be looking at it and thinking, ‘we’ll relax, they’re going to come, they’re going to have to’.
“That’s the problem that United have got. They have not got the authority and control in the transfer market.
“The people who are in charge of this won’t like hearing it but they’ve got to hear it because they are not doing their jobs. The players and the manager get criticised, but the people in the stands have a job to put a strong team on the pitch to build a team that can win the league.
“And in the last eight years, they haven’t done it and it’s a problem.”
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