‘They are demoralised and shot to pieces’ – Gary Neville warns Manchester United could finish in the bottom half of the Premier League and says club h

For the first time in more than 30 years, Manchester United could finish in the bottom half of the table. That’s the warning issued by legendary former player Gary Neville, who is still reeling from the club’s poor start to the Premier League season that has seen Erik ten Hag‘s side lose to Brighton and then Brentford. United are in a mess on the pitchGetty And fans have been protesting against the owners and what’s going on behind the scenes as wellAFP The recruitment of players as well as the future of Cristiano Ronaldo is the main concern right now as the 20-time champions of England find themselves bottom of the Premier League. Ronaldo wants to leave, but they need someone to replace his goals. Marko Arnautovic, Alvaro Morata and Jamie Vardy have been linked, while now they have turned their attention to 23-year-old Matheus Cunha. According to Neville, letting Ronaldo go and not bringing in a replacement on a similar level could leave United facing missing out on even a top ten place. “I think there is a massive decision to make on Cristiano Ronaldo, they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t,” the eight-time Premier League title winner said. “A few weeks ago, before the season started and before these results, I said the best thing to do was to facilitate a move away for Ronaldo. “The problem is now, if they lose him there is nothing left in the goalscoring part of the pitch. “I genuinely think if they don’t bring players in or they bring poor players in and he leaves, I genuinely feel they could finish in the bottom half of the table. “I think that is a bottom half of the table team. That is a massive statement that may look stupid at the end of the season. “They are demoralised and shot to pieces, it is really bad in there. They have gone back to default.” Fans hope Ten Hag is backed in the transfer marketGetty Neville also took aim at the transfers in the almost ten years since Sir Alex Ferguson left as manager, insisting just two have been a success – Bruno Fernandes and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. “It has been one of the problems United have had for 10 years, they have flip flopped between different managers and different strategies and allowed managers to influence the actual overall recruitment,” said Neville. “That has been a massive issue. We looked at the last 10 years of major signings at the club, we removed third goalkeepers and some of the younger players. “But £1.25billion has been spent and we categorised them – we did it together, some do not agree. “We think there are only two signings – at this moment in time – that you could say have been good value and performed at a level and, to be fair, Fernandes has gone off the boil a little bit, but because of the numbers he hit in the last couple of seasons, you would have to say that worked, and Ibrahimovic – obviously that worked. “Ronaldo would have been a green (success) but what has happened in the last month, he wants to leave, the confusion over him, it is a nightmare scenario and it is not working.” Neville added: “It is a horror story from a recruitment point of view. “I know there is a big call for blaming the players and we have blamed the players a lot over the last 10 years – I was excited about those players coming to the club as many people were. “Even last year with Jadon Sancho, Rafael Varane, Cristiano Ronaldo – great signings. “When (Angel) Di Maria came, we said it would be a great signing. “But it has become a graveyard for football players this football club, where players are considering whether to even come to the club, they can’t get players in.” For talkSPORT Drive host and United fan Andy Goldstein, the fact they have been eyeing the likes of Vardy and Arnautovic makes him feel the club don’t have a plan. “I love Jamie Vardy, I love everything Jamie Vardy stands for, I love his style of play and the fact he’s 35 and he’s still smashing it, I love everything about him,” he said on Monday’s Drive Time. “But when I pick up the paper and see that United are linked to him, I’m like ‘what’s happening?’ Goldstein is one of many fans stunned by his club’s current situationtalksport “Sorry that sounds so patronising, but what I’m saying is, decisions should’ve been made about where United go next with their transfers. “You can’t go ‘what about [Mauro] Icardi?’ No. ‘What about Arnautovic?’ No. ‘What about [Adrien] Rabiot?’ Dunno. ‘Vardy?’ It’s literally like they’re flicking through the Premier League’s great players.” Then, Goldstein’s fears for his club’s season were summed up when he was asked by co-host Darren Bent whether United’s current squad could lead them to a unprecedented bottom half Premier League finish. “Yes without a doubt. I think there’s every chance United will finish bottom half if things don’t change before the window closes. We need at least two players coming in right.” He concluded: “They’re not going to go down, but it would not surprise me if United finish outside of the top ten unless something drastic happens in the next 17 days.”

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