Manchester United’s draw against Chelsea on Sunday means the Red Devils have only won twice in their last ten games in all competitions.
During that time, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have suffered seven defeats, and they are in danger of losing out on a top-four finish.
TV pundit Paul Merson believes missing out on Champions League football next season could make them a less attractive proposition for new signings, and that the gap to Liverpool and Manchester City could lead many players to question if a move to Old Trafford is worthwhile:
“I’m watching them now and honestly, it’s cringe-worthy, it’s embarrassing. It’s embarrassing. Manchester United have to get into the Champions League.”
“Players will be looking at this and thinking they are a million miles behind Manchester City and Liverpool, who are their arch-rivals.”
“If you look at Jose Mourinho at the end it was a relief that he left because he probably thought: ‘How he was going to close the gap?’ Mourinho would have looked at Liverpool rising too.”
“In my opinion, Manchester United are the biggest club in the world, but if they came in for me and I was a top drawer player but I could go other places, I would seriously be looking and thinking: ‘Would I want to come here? Are we ever going to get near City or Liverpool?'”
The financial clout of United means they will always be in with a shout of signing Europe’s top talent, but the numerous mistakes made in the transfer market in recent years have taken their toll.
A root and branch reorganisation of football operations at the club is underway, with the appointment of a technical director expected to take place before the start of next season. However, it may take a while for the changes to affect results on the pitch.