Former Manchester United man Mikael Silvestre admits that the current state of the club’s defence concerns him, and he expects new boss Louis van Gaal to bring in more reinforcements before the start of the season.
United have seen long-time starters Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra all depart this summer, with the sole back-line addition thus far being £30 million England international Luke Shaw.
Van Gaal currently has the likes of Phil Jones, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Rafael to call on elsewhere, but Silvestre believes that will not be enough, with new signings still needed if the club are to become title challengers again in 2014-15.
"Last season showed we really need a good defence. Thankfully we still have David [de Gea] in goal and he’ll be important to guide the new players," he told Sky Sports News Radio.
"We expect van Gaal to make some moves in defence to try to bring in new players with a bit of experience, otherwise we’ll have to count on Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Rafael and the others to prove that they deserve to start and perform for United. They still have to step up."
While United have been linked to centre-back Mats Hummels over the past week, Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp has quashed the idea of selling the World Cup-winner for the reported price of £16 million, though a more significant bid could prove the kick start to negotiations.
In addition, they are also said to be courting Feyenoord’s £10 million-rated Stefan de Vrij, who van Gaal is well-acquainted with from his time with the Dutch national team, as well as Arsenal’s Thomas Vermaelen, who looks to be heading for the exit door at the Emirates Stadium.
Ajax’s Daley Blind is another Dutch international who is in play, according to reports, though there could well be fierce competition from Barcelona for the left-back-cum-midfielder’s signature.
After the disappointment of last season’s seventh place finish, United’s summer business should prove more than enough to push the 20-time champions back up the table, though whether it will see them competing with their rivals for the title is open for debate.