Manchester United have ended the summer transfer window short in midfield, according to the club’s record appearance-maker Ryan Giggs.
The Old Trafford club have so far kept hold of Paul Pogba, despite the France international having said publicly that he wants a “new challenge,” and sources have told ESPN FC he is unlikely leave before the European deadline on Sept. 2.
“I think we need a couple more midfielders,” Giggs told ESPN FC.
“If Paul Pogba goes — we talk about culture change — but obviously you need quality. You might not like it but come Sunday if Paul Pogba isn’t in that midfield or the week after, and we’ve got the midfielders that we’ve got at our club, then we’re short. That’s the problem.”
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has cracked down on discipline since taking over from Jose Mourinho in December while the Norwegian has made a point of only signing players who are committed to coming to Old Trafford — prompting the club to cool interest in Paulo Dybala and Christian Eriksen.
Both Pogba and Romelu Lukaku made it clear they wanted to leave United this summer but while the Belgium international got his move to Inter Milan, Pogba stayed put.
And Giggs’ former United teammate and fellow Class of 92 member Gary Neville told ESPN FC he believes not signing a midfielder was behind the reason Solskjaer did not sanction Pogba’s sale to Real Madrid
“I think there are three or four players at Old Trafford who have higher levels of quality that in a perfect world, Ole would probably like them all out at once,” Neville said.
“But actually, if they left it would weaken the team that badly it’d mean that they wouldn’t challenge for the Champions League. I think what Ole has to do is to get rid of one at a time. I think it’s a clever transition out of what has been a poor transfer strategy for the last four or five years.
“You can’t get out of it in one year, it’s going to take two or three years of good culture and tone, in terms of what they’re doing, to get out of what they’ve done. You can’t lose Lukaku, Pogba, [Anthony] Martial all in one — you’d be absolutely decimated.
“The dressing room would be shot to pieces. You could maybe lose them over a period of two or three years if they wanted to leave.”
Ex-United midfielder Paul Scholes has seen players try to leave United before and said he believes Pogba can win back the fans as long as he proves his commitment to the cause.
“It happened with Cristiano [Ronaldo] and Wayne [Rooney] so I think it’ll be accepted,” Scholes told ESPN FC.
“Paul is not a bad lad so as long as he is committed to the rest of the team and playing every week then there won’t be a problem.”
United open their Premier League campaign with a home clash against Chelsea on Sunday and Pogba has recovered from a back spasm to put himself in contention to start.