Arsenal legend says there is ‘softness’ in Manchester United’s transfer approach this summer

Sir Alex Ferguson

Charlie Nicholas cannot believe how Manchester United have struggled to sign players this summer.

It was a contrasting day for Arsenal and Manchester United today - as both played out 1-0 scorelines with polar opposite degrees of satisfaction.

United lost at Anfield to Liverpool while Arsenal came out on top in the North London derby against Tottenham Hotspur.

Both clubs have however had one thing in common this summer - a lack of transfer activity.

The ordeals at Arsenal have been widely documented, whereas the fact United have only signed an unknown right-back in the form of Guillermo Varela is not generally considered a problem.

It was a topic for discussion on this weekend’s Gillette Soccer Saturday.

Jeff Stelling directed the question toward ‘Champagne’ Charlie Nicholas. Now the 51-year-old is certainly more revered for his time at Celtic, and rightly so, but the dazzling forward also played over 200 games for Arsenal in the 1980’s.

Now Arsenal may not have done well in the transfer window, but Nicholas feels United have to move on Monday as well:

‘’Yeah, no [they don’t have a strong enough squad] I think they need players Jeff [Stelling]. You’re looking at their bench against Chelsea also you know you’re sitting there thinking ‘there’s lots of quality there we know that, that’s guaranteed at Manchester United.… but somebody like Bilbao knocking back Manchester United is quite unusual, so I think there is a newness and a softness about how the business is, well how to get it done, whereas before with Fergie and the reputation of David Gill the business could get done.’’

He suggests that the new chief executive, Ed Woodward, combined with a new manager in the form of David Moyes simply do not have the hardened tactics that David Gill and Sir Alex Ferguson moulded throughout their time together at The Theatre of Dreams.

So far Moyes has missed out on several transfer targets, and the Bilbao player Nicholas refers to, Ander Herrera, is also looking like a tough nut to crack.

Their lack of depth showed against Liverpool - when the likes of Ashley Young, Ryan Giggs, Tom Cleverley and substitute Nani all failed to perform to the best of their ability.

Whether Nicholas is right or not about them being soft is debateable - but he is right about one thing.

United need to improve their squad before 11pm tomorrow - or the Premier League title may just elude them.

image: © marcel sigg

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