Neville: Manchester United could have had Bale, Kroos, and two Chelsea stars at the money they spent

Toni Kroos in training

Gary Neville has criticised Manchester United's poor spending.

With Manchester United losing their opening Premier League game on 2014/15, the knives are out.

And even former captain Gary Neville, a supporter of the club, has criticised the poor spending over the past 12-18 months.

United have spent close to £140 million on Juan Mata, Marouane Fellaini, Wilfried Zaha, Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera - and still look like they face an uphill struggle to reach the top four this season.

Too many harsh kneejerk judgements can be made after one game of course, but even the most myopic United fan would have to be concerned at the lack of progression from last season.

Neville told SkySports: "Can they get players they want? Last year they bought players who didn't fit their philosophy.

"For the same or similar money Manchester United have spent in last 12 months, they could've bought Bale, Kroos, Fabregas and Felipe Luis."

It is no secret that Marouane Fellaini has failed to shine, while Mata has played well in spells. Neville was one of the outspoken critics against the £37 million deal before it happened however, suggesting the Spaniard was a poor fit for United's system.

Zaha looks unlikely to succeed, but it is too early to dismiss Herrera and Shaw, but the point Neville makes regarding Luis and Fabregas, two players signed by Chelsea in identical positions - for cheaper, stands up to some degree.

United tried to sign Fabregas last summer however, although did not try this time around. It remains to be seen whether their failure to secure Champions League football would have scuppered the deal, and likewise with Luis.

Neville's assertion regarding Gareth Bale is certainly over-egged. United attempted to sign him, but no amount of money would have convinced Tottenham to sell to a Premier League side, nor Bale to give up his dream of signing with Real Madrid.

The Toni Kroos miss is the most frustrating for United, they seemed to be close to his signature, before pulling out of the race ahead of the World Cup. Would they have been able to beat Real Madrid to sign him? Again we will never know because they decided not to try.

Luke Shaw could turn out long-term to be a better investment than Filipe Luis, but whether the more expensive Ander Herrera will ever get to the standard of Toni Kroos, remains to be seen.

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