Gary Neville has hit out at Manchester United over their ’embarrassing’ pursuit of Jadon Sancho and says it’s ‘impossible’ for the current team to win the Premier League title unless Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is given the ‘three or four’ players he needs.
United head coach Solskjaer identified Sancho as his number one target at the start of the summer but the club missed Borussia Dortmund’s deadline of August 5 to cough up the required £108million for the 20-year-old forward.
The Bundesliga giants insist no deal will be done before the deadline and the Red Devils have been forced to scour the market for possible alternatives, with Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele emerging as a possible option for the new campaign.
While Donny van de Beek remains the sole addition to Solskjaer’s first-team squad with just hours remaining of the transfer window, Edinson Cavani is reportedly set to follow the Dutchman through the doors at Old Trafford after his contract came to an end at Paris Saint-Germain.
However, the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea have already wrapped up all of their business and Neville has criticised his former club for their apparent naivety in the market, which he feels could cost Solskjaer his job.
‘I just don’t think they’re smart enough and wise enough and agile enough in the market,’ the ex-United and England right-back told Off The Ball.
‘I was reading that Liverpool have accepted a bid for Rhian Brewster for £24m from Sheffield United. Liverpool aren’t just buying smart, they’re selling smart.
‘I look at Chelsea and I think they buy smart, they seem to sell smart over the last 15 to 20 years.
‘City spend a lot of money but they seem to get deals done, whereas United just don’t seem to be able to get the deals done. Even with Harry Maguire last year, it dragged on right the way to the end, Sancho this year. They don’t seem to be able to get deals over the line, they don’t get things done efficiently or quietly.
‘Liverpool announced Jota and Thiago – I know Thiago had been linked for a bit – but it’s done at reasonably prices, £27m and £40m, no hundreds so I just think they’re not smart enough.
‘They’re being outwitted in the market by the other clubs and if you lose recruitment you don’t win the league, it’s as simple as that. You can have a great coach but if you don’t get the right players you’re not going to win the league.’
Neville believes the drawn-out saga surrounding Dortmund and England winger Sancho has become an ’embarrassing’ situation for United.
‘The Sancho thing is embarrassing. It’s been going on now for fourth months. It’s embarrassing, that,’ he added.
‘And then to put a bid in that gets rejected… the smart clubs, they have deals sorted behind the scenes, the agents are working hard, club officials are agreed on things and when the bids goes in it gets accepted, it’s done.
‘Who puts bids in nowadays that aren’t accepted? That doesn’t happen that often. Very rarely.
‘Generally clubs have the deal sorted, the agents knows what the player’s getting, the player knows what the club are getting, the club knows what the other club are getting. I just don’t understand it at all, it’s not great. That’s why I’ve been critical.’
Neville continued: ‘Ole, for me, has a period of time to win the league. He’s been there one and a half seasons and this is his third season.
‘Will he be expected to win the league this season? No. But maybe next season in his fourth he’ll have to win the league.
‘He can’t win the league, it’s impossible to win the league against the Liverpool team this year unless he gets three or four players that takes him towards it.
‘So essentially your tying the manager’s hands behind his back if you’re not giving him the players he needs to win the league and yet you’re setting him the target of winning the league.’
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