Gary Neville has questioned Manchester United’s transfer planning following the club’s late deadline day capture of Odion Ighalo.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side moved to strengthen their attacking options with the signing of the Nigerian international, the forward sealing a last-gasp loan move to Old Trafford from Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua.
The short-term arrival of the former Watford player has been greeted with an underwhelming response from the club’s supporters, and Neville believes the signing is a reflection of poor planning from the Red Devils’ recruitment staff.
“They just needed a body in that area,” Neville told Sky Sports.
“Rashford’s going to be out for another couple of months.
“I can’t let the club off the hook though, unfortunately. Romelu Lukaku told us a couple of weeks ago that he had said he was going to leave last February or March,” Neville told Sky Sports before the 0-0 draw with Wolves.
“That’s nine months to be able to manoeuvre and get into a position to sign a striker for the club for the long-term. And yet they have ended up desperately doing one on Deadline Day.
“The boy may do very well. He might come in and settle in, he might score goals and do a job for the club.
“But the fact that the club were in that position, knowing that Sanchez and Lukaku were leaving for many, many months, tells us that Manchester United, at this moment in time, are struggling to navigate through the transfer market smartly.”
After watching his former side play out a goalless draw at home to Wolves, Neville was once again critical of their recruitment in recent windows.
Solskjaer’s side struggled to create clear-cut opportunities during the stalemate despite the presence of marquee signing Bruno Fernandes in midfield, and Neville believes United’s signings of forward players, in particular, have been poor despite significant investment in past transfer windows.
“You can go back to Falcao, Di Maria, other players, Depay was young at the time, but players they’ve signed in forward areas on the pitch haven’t been good enough,” he said.
“You look at what Liverpool, Man City and Tottenham have done, and compare it to what Manchester United have done. If the recruitment is wrong you ultimately end up paying for it.
“The gameplan today was fine from United. If you were playing with Messi, Suarez and Neymar up front you’d probably play the same way against Wolves. You’d control the game and wait for that moment and one of your front three would go and deliver for you. United don’t have that front three at the moment who can go and provide that moment of magic.
“They’ve signed Ighalo – maybe he can give a bit more presence in terms of putting crosses into the box.
“The fact is, United were chasing a goal at 0-0 and they’ve had to bring on Jesse Lingard and Diogo Dalot, that tells you exactly where Manchester United are at.
“The big problem with recruitment is I’m not quite sure who is in charge over the last seven or eight years. Who is behind the scenes spotting the players, making sure they are ahead of the game?”