Paul Scholes has admitted that he is "scared" about Manchester United's future and names five players they should buy immediately to avoid further decline.
The Old Trafford legend has revealed how he urged the club to buy Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas (who is now at Chelsea) and Bayern's Toni Kroos (now at Real Madrid) - and now fears the club have slipped to a level that puts them below Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool both in the Premier League table itself and in terms of attracting the type of quality they now require.
Scholes writes: "I am scared for United. Genuinely scared they could go into the wilderness in the same way Liverpool did in the 1990s.
"What do they need? Five players. Five proper players who can hit the ground running and turn round a situation that looks desperate. Let me be clear: I am sick of having to criticise the club to which I gave my life as a footballer.
"But United need to arrest their decline."
One player who has arrived is Marcos Rojo who officially became a Manchester United player yesterday, but if the arrival of the Argentinian defender at Old Trafford for £16m was supposed to be a ray of sunshine to help lift the club from the depths they have sunk to, Thomas Mueller added to the gloom by revealing that he was the big one that got away.
The Germany striker, who was instrumental in his country's World Cup success, said United were one of the clubs that had offered an "astronomical" sum to sign him but he decided to stay at Bayern Munich.
The 24-year-old became a regular at Bayern when Louis van Gaal was in charge at the club and the Dutchman is understood to have wanted to make him one of his first signings when he took over at Old Trafford.
Mueller told the German newspaper Bild: "Of course, I was aware I could theoretically earn more with a transfer. The sums that were standing by from foreign clubs were already astronomical.
"I can only say for me, a change was never really an issue anyway. FC Bayern is my club."
United have also been linked with an unsuccessful bid for Borussia Dortmund's Marco Reus, but a club spokesman insisted : "It is not true that we made offers for Mueller or Reus at any stage."
Marouane Fellaini's loan move to Napoli was in doubt after being pictured on crutches with his left ankle in a cast.
Signed by David Moyes, his former boss at Everton, the Belgian is one player that Van Gaal is keen to get rid of, but the injury would place in jeopardy any chance of completing the deal with the Italian club before the transfer window closes.
Fellaini has been linked with a move to Spurs along with Javier Hernandez while Napoli were also believed to be interested. Spurs were said to have put in a bid of £24m for the pair. (© Independent News Service)