A former Old Trafford favourite says the Red Devils’ “risky” transfer strategy allowed their rivals to pull away from them in the Premier League
Robin van Persie has criticised Manchester United for “gambling on star names like Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez” instead of following the same blueprint Liverpool have under Jurgen Klopp.
United have endured a frustrating transitional period which has lasted longer than expected since the departure of legendary boss Sir Alex Ferguson back in 2013.
The Scot retired after guiding the Red Devils to a 13th Premier League crown, but his successor David Moyes was sacked after just 10 months.
Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho also failed to restore past glories during respective stints in the Old Trafford hot seat, despite spending a fortune on a number of high-profile players.
Mourinho lured Pogba back to the club from Juventus in an £89 million ($110m) deal in 2016, with expectant supporters hoping he would be the man to inspire a revival.
Unfortunately, the World Cup winner has been unable to live up to expectations, only managing to showcase his abilities sporadically amid concerns over his attitude and commitment to the United cause.
Similar criticisms were levelled at Alexis Sanchez when he completed a move to United in January 2018 from Arsenal, as Mourinho struggled to get the best out of another talented figure.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer eventually replaced the Portuguese boss and Sanchez was sent out on loan to Inter last summer as a squad rebuild began.
In stark contrast, Liverpool have gradually established themselves as the top dogs in English football during Klopp’s four-and-a-half-year reign at Anfield, while spending far less than their arch-rivals.
Van Persie, who was part of United’s last title-winning side, believes his old club should have focused on implementing a “philosophy” in the same way that the Reds did, rather than taking unnecessary risks in the transfer market.
“If you compare it to Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp was appointed and players were selected who fit in with the football philosophy, not from marketing motives,” the ex-United striker told SoFoot.
“They built the club on a coach’s sporting project. At Manchester United, they gamble on star names like Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez.
“That’s one way. It is risky. If such a player gets injured or does not fit, the whole team is vulnerable. While having a philosophy like Liverpool and not Manchester United creates enormous collective power.
“The challenge for Manchester United is to see if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can successfully establish a philosophy of his own.”
Van Persie went on to explain how Ferguson pushed his squad “to the maximum”, before insisting Solskjaer should be given time to effect significant change at the Theatre of Dreams.
“Every player should aim for an environment that pushes you to the maximum,” the Dutchman added.
“At Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson, there was an incredible daily urge to act. To go to Manchester United was like breaking through the glass ceiling, to make certain things possible.
“If United want to recover, they must give Solskjaer time and a real chance. Right now, Liverpool and Manchester City are one or two steps ahead of United.
“Why? Because they have built up a collective feeling that they want to go somewhere.”
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