Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane believes his old club will not challenge for Premier League titles unless they improve their midfield options.
The Red Devils currently sit in eighth place in the Premier League table following an underwhelming performance in a narrow home defeat against Wolves earlier this week.
Crucially, despite their lacklustre form, they sit just four points shy of Arsenal, who occupy the third and final Champions League spot.
However, the gap to local rivals Manchester City, who currently occupy top of the table, sits at 22 points as Pep Guardiola’s side look well on their way to claiming a sixth league title in the last decade.
United supporters are hoping to see interim manager Ralf Rangnick dip into the transfer market this month and midfield looks to be an area where improvement is required.
There have been strong links with Wolves star Ruben Neves, Marseille’s highly-rated midfielder Boubacar Kamara and Amadou Haidara of Bundesliga club RB Leipzig.
What did Keane say?
With Fred and Scott McTominay currently occupying the midfield spots in Rangnick’s preferred starting line-up and Nemanja Matic and Donny Van Der Beek struggling for game time on a consistent basis, Keane insisted United’s midfield options need to “show a bit more”.
Speaking on Sky Sports Monday Night Football earlier this season, he said: “People talk about Fred and McTominay in midfield, they’ve had their chance, we’ve seen them.
“I don’t think they’re bad players, but they won’t get United back to winning league titles.
“Tim (Cahill) makes a point there about Man United having great players, I don’t see it, I don’t see the great players.
“They have some very good players, but they need to show a bit more.
“Van de Beek has come into the club, and there’s nothing wrong with biding your time, but if you think Fred, McTominay and Matic in midfield will get Man United back to the heights of winning titles, then you’re living in cuckoo land.”
Possible target rated
One player that has been linked with a move to Old Trafford in the past is England and Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham.
The former Birmingham City youngster surprised many when he moved to the Bundesliga at the age of just 17 last year.
United had shown a serious interest in securing the services of Bellingham prior to his move to Dortmund and showed the young midfielder around their training ground in a bid to persuade him to join the club.
His move to Dortmund has been a success and Bellingham has gone on to star in the Champions League and Bundesliga, as well as forming part of the England squad that reached the Euro 2020 Final last year.
Keane is a keen admirer of the youngster and has been impressed with what he has seen from a player that retains an interest from his former club.
"He's got a great chance, the kid, we love everything about him," said Keane.
"What he does on the pitch, the way he speaks off it, he's playing week in, week out for a top club. The potential in this kid is scary.
“I saw him recently playing in a Champions League game and he was producing passes… I didn't think he had that in his locker quite yet.
"The potential for this boy, he’s a good size, he’s like a boxer, he’s a strong powerful boy. Gareth (Southgate) must be rubbing his hands."