Dimitar Berbatov has urged Manchester United to strengthen in central defence before the transfer window shuts in under two weeks time.
United have made just one signing so far this summer while watching several of their rivals significantly bolstering their squads.
Donny van de Beek has made an encouraging start to his United career, but there are other key areas that must be addressed before the October 5 deadline.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men were well beaten in their opening Premier League game of the season against Crystal Palace where familiar problems reared their head.
Palace were able to capitalise on the lack of pace in the defensive partnership between Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire, with ex-Red Wilfried Zaha particularly dangerous on the break.
The general consensus within the fanbase is that United cannot be successful with Solskjaer’s favoured pairing of Lindelof and Maguire that lacks balance.
Lindelof, in particular, has been maligned for recent performances and is the player likely to be sacrificed in the starting eleven if a change is made.
Former United striker Berbatov believes the Reds require a speedy defender that can complement captain Maguire, rather like Rio Ferdinand did for Nemanja Vidic.
“If we just based it on the first game then United are miles off the speed of the other top teams in the league, and so I hope it is just down to it being game one,” Berbatov told Betfair, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News.
“If it becomes a trend, it could be a very long season. I and others have big expectations for United this season. They need a centre-half, and probably further recruitment also to be competitive.
“At the end of the day, if Crystal Palace can score three past you, you are in trouble.
“As I said, if we only judge on this game, United need to buy a whole new squad! But we can’t over-react to one game on its own.
“They have less than two weeks until the window closes, and they can play some more games to figure out what they need in that time, but it’s not easy.
“It can be hard to sign players, maybe the players don’t want to come, it is hard to say, but their defence is what they need to work on.
“The goals they conceded at the weekend were poor defensive goals. If they don’t strengthen up, it will be a long season for them.
“They need someone alongside Harry Maguire, look at how impressive he has been since he came in, and he is now captain. They need someone who is fast like Rio Ferdinand was for Nemanja Vidic.”