Gary Neville believes Manchester United are in “special measures” and could end up in the bottom half of the Premier League if they don’t tackle their “horror story” recruitment strategy.
The former United defender was vocal in his criticism of the club’s owners after a humiliating 4-0 defeat at Brentford on Saturday.
The defeat kept Erik Ten Hag’s side bottom of the table after the Dutchman lost his first competitive game at home to Brighton a week earlier.
Neville spoke about what he saw as the Glazer family’s poor ownership of the club and on Sky Sports Monday Night Football the ex-Valencia boss continued his assessment.
“If a school underperforms and has consistently poor results over a period of time, they will be put under special measures by the government and the children will not be blamed,” he said.
“There’s Manchester United, they’re special measures and you can’t blame the kids anymore.
“From a recruiting perspective, it’s a horror story.
“I know there’s a big demand to blame the players and we’ve blamed the players a lot over the last 10 years – I was excited for those players to come to the club like so many others.
“Also last year with Jadon Sancho, Rafael Varane, Cristiano Ronaldo – great signings.
“When (Angel) Di Maria came along, we said it would be a great signing.
“But this football club has become a footballer’s graveyard with players considering whether they should even come into the club, they can’t bring players in.”
Neville was joined in the studio by former Liverpool and England defender Jamie Carragher and revealed the pair had been analyzing United’s signings over the past decade.
The pair listed just two signings that have been as successful as the aftermath of their dreadful start to the season has lingered.
Only Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Bruno Fernandes were rated as either capable on the pitch or competitively priced.
“It’s been one of the problems United have had for 10 years, they’ve been switching between different managers and different strategies and allowing managers to influence the actual overall attitude,” Neville said.
“It was a massive problem. We’ve looked at the last 10 years with important signings at the club, we’ve removed third goalkeepers and some of the younger players.
“But £1.25billion has been spent and we’ve categorized it – we’ve done it together, some disagree.
“We think there are – at this point – only two signings that could be said to have had value for money and performed at par and to be fair Fernandes is a little off helmed, but because of the numbers he’s hit over the last couple of seasons, you have to say it worked, and Ibrahimovic – that obviously worked.
“Ronaldo would have been a green (success) but what’s happened in the last month, he wants to go, the confusion over him, it’s a nightmare scenario and it’s not working.”
Ronaldo’s immediate future and the club’s reaction to a possible exit could still leave them in the bottom half of the table, according to Neville.
“I think there’s a massive decision for Cristiano Ronaldo, they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t,” said the eight-time Premier League winner.
“A few weeks ago, before the start of the season and before these results, I said the best thing would be to allow Ronaldo to leave.
“The problem now is when they lose him there is nothing left in the scoring area of the pitch.
“I really think if they don’t bring in players or they bring in bad players and he leaves, I really think they could end up in the bottom half of the table.
“I think that’s a bottom half of the table team. That’s a massive statement that might look silly by the end of the season.
“They’re demoralized and shot to pieces, it’s really bad in there. They have returned to the standard.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/gary-neville-manchester-united-premier-league-zlatan-ibrahimovic-brentford-b2145629.html Manchester United could end up in the bottom half of the Premier League – Gary Neville