Liverpool legend Jan Molby does not believe Manchester United's problems can be cured overnight by going on a summer spending spree.
United manager David Moyes has endured a season of woe in charge of the reigning Premier League champions and has overseen a drop from top of the table to sixth in a desperate campaign.
But, writing in his Liverpool Echo column in the build-up to a crucial encounter between the two sides this weekend at Old Trafford, which could shape how the rest of each side's season pans out, Molby has lit the blue touchpaper by suggesting United cannot expect to return to the glory they enjoyed under Sir Alex Ferguson with a few minor tweaks in the summer transfer window.
Molby wrote: 'I've heard people say that this season will be a one off for them – that they will spend heavily this summer and everything will be okay.
'We felt the same way at Liverpool in the early 90s. We started every season thinking that would be the year when we got back up there.
'We also invested heavily and bought players to try to rectify things. But it doesn't guarantee anything.
'United might not run into a title drought like Liverpool but once you have fallen off the top it's not as easy to rectify problems as some people think.'
Molby believes attracting the right calibre of player becomes increasingly difficult once standards begin to slip and believes a lot of the current roster at Old Trafford are already way past their best.
'The big thing is the recruitment of players,' the Dane added. 'When you're riding high you can afford to get half of the deals right but when you're slipping away your success ratio has to be higher.
'United can't afford to make mistakes in the transfer market and if they aren't in the Champions League they will struggle to attract top class talent.
'If you look at successful Liverpool teams of the past, they had a group of players who were real Liverpool players and had been at the club for a long time.
'It's been the same at United over the past 20 years but those players left – the likes of Ferdinand, Evra and Vidic – are now well past their best.'
Can United's struggles be combatted with some summer signings?