Gary Neville is sure misfiring Manchester United will still be able to attract big players this summer.
The Old Trafford giants are having to go through yet another period of change as they look to get back to the heights scaled before Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.
United stumbled home sixth in the Premier League last season after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s fine start to life at the helm came to an abrupt halt.
It leaves the Norwegian with a big rebuilding job at a time when they cannot offer prospective signings Champions League football, but former captain Neville believes the club remains an attractive proposition.
“I think United can still attract top-end players because we’ve seen good players come to the club over the last six or seven years,” the United great said.
“This club will never move away from being a sensational football club. It will have difficult moments, and it’s having a difficult time.
“The money in the game now means you’re always in competition. The club has lost players when it’s successful to Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
“Lost (Arjen) Robben to Chelsea in the mid 2000s, we lost (Samir) Nasri to City. Don’t always think that when Sir Alex Ferguson was here it didn’t happen.
“This club lost players when it was successful to some of the biggest clubs in Europe that are competing with United.
“Don’t think that if United lose players now to Barcelona that this is the first time it’s ever happened, it’s happened before.
“It’s not because of the current plight, or the coach, or the manager, or the current players, it just happens sometimes. It happened during successful times too.”
Press Association Sport understands that United are braced for this summer to be busier than usual.
While the Old Trafford hierarchy expect highly rated Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt to head to Barcelona, they have a number of irons in the fire and are keen to bring in young, British players where possible.
Swansea’s Daniel James and Newcastle midfielder Sean Longstaff are understood to be on United’s radar, while the likes of Jadon Sancho, Declan Rice and Callum Hudson-Odoi have been linked with a move to Old Trafford.
Crystal Palace full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka is another attracting admiring glances in the north west – a player Neville rates but concedes is far harder to sign than in years gone by.
“He’s a massive talent and the club to be fair have always signed young, emerging British talent,” he said after playing for Manchester United Legends against their Bayern Munich counterparts.
“I don’t think that should change and it would seem to me that the club would like to go back down that route and he is one.
“The price is always going to be big because clubs are wise now to it, you can’t pinch players off clubs for £5million or £6m.
“They are wise to it and have the Premier League funding of £100-odd million, so they don’t need to panic, they don’t need an extra £5m or £10m, they want £50m or £60m.
“Leicester will be the same for (Ben) Chilwell and (Harry) Maguire or (James) Maddison. All these mid-tier clubs won’t let players go for £5m, £6m, £8m, £10m now.”