Paul Scholes, the former Manchester United midfielder, expressed his belief that Manchester United’s summer recruitment has hindered the team’s progress to the ‘next level’.
Despite a 4-3 defeat to Bayern Munich on Wednesday night, in which Erik ten Hag’s side faced a superior team at the Allianz Arena, the Red Devils have had a challenging start to the season, losing four of their first six matches in all competitions.
Following the Bayern loss, Scholes pointed out that United appears to have a ‘vulnerability’ this season, reminiscent of the early stages of the previous term. He asserted that his former team is currently far from being able to compete for silverware in the Premier League or the Champions League.
“It was as if Bayern were waiting for Man United to score, as if they were saying, ‘here we go, we’ll turn it on again’,” commented the ex-midfielder on TNT Sports. “United have had moments in every game they’ve lost this season where they’ve done reasonably well, but it’s not sufficient.
“There’s a fragility there, a vulnerability. Once they concede one, there’s no one to say, ‘right, for the next five minutes, we stay in this game.’ Before you know it, it’s two goals, and they’re too far behind.
“As the manager mentioned, too many players are making individual errors. Unfortunately, the goalkeeper [Andre Onana] gets scrutinized because of his position. But, as I mentioned before, I believe this season will be almost identical to last year. I think they are a cup team; they can possibly win the FA Cup, the League Cup, but they haven’t reached this level yet.
“I thought the manager made significant progress last year, bringing them back to a level they should be at, but I think the summer transfer window has hampered his efforts to reach the next level. Tonight, we saw that they are not at this level.”
Before the match, Scholes had already expressed a similar viewpoint, asserting that the summer signings did not bring in enough quality. “I believe they are on a very similar path to last season. They had a tough start last season, and they’ve had a challenging beginning this season as well.
“I thought after last season that they were making progress, that Ten Hag was taking this club somewhere and had improved the team’s discipline. This summer, I wondered if he would spend £200m to take the club to a different level. I don’t believe the signings accomplished that. They strengthened the squad, but I don’t think they made it better or turned it into a team that can contend for a league title or the competition they played in tonight. He has made the squad deeper.”