Gary Neville has criticized Manchester United’s signing since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, stating the club have only made two successful signings in the last nine years.
United have made 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 how the club has 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.
Looking at whether players have been value for money in terms of their performance on the field, Neville divided them into three categories: green (success), amber (borderline), and red (failure). Most fell into the latter category, and he admitted that players have had so many problems at United over the years that potential signings are now having second thoughts about joining the club in the first place.
Gary Neville thinks Bruno Fernandes has been a success at Manchester United
He also thinks United’s addition of Zlatan Ibrahimovic on a free transfer was a good deal.
However, Neville believes United’s overall business since 2013 has been disastrous.
‘One of the problems that Manchester United have had for 10 years is that they have changed between managers and strategies. That has been a big problem.
“We did a little exercise where we looked at the top signings at the club over the last 10 years, removing players as third goalkeepers. We removed some of the younger players, but £1.25bn was sent.
“We think there are only two signings, at the moment, who have been good value and have performed at a level. Bruno Fernandes has been a bit discouraged but, due to the numbers he has achieved over two seasons, it has to be said that it worked, and [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic has worked.
‘Herrera, Shaw, Matic, Mata… Ronaldo would have been a green, but what happened over the last month, with him wanting to leave and the confusion, the stories that have happened, that has to make him an amber. It may be due to his performance, value, price or simply his behavior.
75 percent have not worked. 20 percent are amber in color. Only four or five percent have worked; that’s a horror show from a recruiting standpoint.
Neville believes most of United’s signings have failed to impress, including Paul Pogba (L)
‘I know there is a great need to blame the players and we have blamed the players a lot. He was excited about a lot of those signings, including last year with Sancho, Varane and Ronaldo, great signings. When Di María came, we thought, “this is going to be a signing.”
“But it has become a graveyard for football players, this football club. The players are now even considering whether they want to come to the club; you can’t put in players’.
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 asked the Dutchman to stick to his principles when it comes to team selection in United’s next home game against Liverpool.
‘There has to be a question about who is influencing the recruiting. Ten Hag has to have an influence, of course he does. But the Dutch league is not the most accurate for this league in terms of transition.
Neville is concerned that Erik ten Hag has not been supported in the transfer market
‘Obviously the coach is a fantastic coach, he has shown that in recent years. However, you have been dealt a really bad hand. Not getting the players he wanted in the preseason is a surprise, an absolute surprise.
“United will ride the wave for the next few months and get through this season, but they are going to have to go through the toughest times they have had to go through since they were relegated to Division Two some 40 years ago.
“I have always said that coaches who bring new values at the beginning of the season should not give the players mixed messages. Stick with what you’re doing, believe in it, and hopefully you’ll get the results. [You can’t] start switching each week: moving to back five, moving to 4-3-3, then 4-4-2.
‘However, he has to be pragmatic next Monday. It’s not about not playing from behind, it’s just about the physicality of the players. He has to choose the players he trusts the most on the field, who are going to get a result. That is going to be extremely difficult,” added Neville.