Gary Neville has criticized Manchester United’s recruitment drive since Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down, claiming the club have only made two successful signings in the past nine years.
United have had a dismal start to the season, losing both of their Premier League games under new manager Erik ten Hag, and Neville is far from impressed with the way the club have performed in the transfer market. The former full-back believes this is a long-standing problem at Old Trafford, and he analyzed 33 signings United have made since 2013 on Monday Night Football.
When looking at whether players have been value for money in terms of their performances on the pitch, Neville divided them into three categories – green (success), yellow (borderline) and red (failure). The majority fell into the latter category and he admitted that the players have struggled so hard at United over the years that potential signings now doubt joining the club in the first place.
Gary Neville believes Bruno Fernandes has been a success at Manchester United
He also thinks that United bringing in Zlatan Ibrahimovic on a free transfer was good business
However, Neville believes United’s overall performance since 2013 has been disastrous
“One of the problems Manchester United has had for 10 years is that they have flip-flopped between managers and strategies. It has been a big problem.
– We did a small exercise where we looked at big signings at the club in the last 10 years, and removed players as third goalkeepers. We removed some of the younger players but £1.25bn has been sent.
– We believe there are only two signings, at the moment, who have provided good value and have performed at a level. Bruno Fernandes has gone off a bit, but for the numbers he’s hit over two seasons, you’d have to say he worked – and [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic has worked.
“Herrera, Shaw, Matic, Mata… Ronaldo would have been a green, but because of what has happened in the last month, with him wanting to leave and the confusion, the stories that have happened, it has to make him a amber. It could be because of their performance, value, price tag or just their behavior.
’75 per cent have not worked. 20 percent is amber. Only four or five percent have worked; it’s a horror show from a recruiting standpoint.
Neville believes the majority of United’s signings have failed to impress, including Paul Pogba (L)
– I know that there is a big call to blame the players, and we have given the players a lot of blame. I was excited about a lot of these signings, even last year with Sancho, Varane and Ronaldo – great signings. When Di Maria arrived, we thought “this will be a signing”.
“But it has become a graveyard for footballers, this football club. Players are now even considering whether to join the club; you can’t get players in.
Looking specifically at the current transfer window, United have only managed to bring in three players so far, with Lisandro Martinez and Tyrell Malacia following ten Hag to Old Trafford from the Netherlands, while Christian Eriksen arrived on a free transfer.
Neville is concerned that ten Hag has not received much support over the summer, but has called for the Dutchman to stick to his principles when it comes to selecting the team for United’s next game at home to Liverpool.
“It must be a question of who influences the recruitment. Ten Hag must have influence, of course he does. But the Dutch league is not the most precise for this league when it comes to transfer.
Neville is concerned that Erik ten Hag has not received support in the transfer market
– The coach is obviously a fantastic coach – he has proven that in recent years. However, he has been dealt a very bad hand. Not getting the players in for him as he wanted in pre-season is a shock – an absolute shock.
United will ride the wave over the next few months and get through this season, but they will have endured the rockiest times they have had to go through since their relegation to Division Two 40 years ago.
– I have always said that managers who bring in new values at the start of the season should not give mixed messages to the players. Stick to what you are doing, believe in it and hopefully you will get the results. [You can’t] start changing every week – move to a back five, move to 4-3-3, then 4-4-2.
“But he has to be pragmatic next Monday. It’s not about not playing from the back, it’s just about the physicality of the players. He has to choose the players he trusts the most out on the field, who will get a result. It’s going to be extremely difficult, Neville added.