Graeme Souness doubts whether Manchester United have enough in midfield to be able to sustain a title challenge in the near future, largely because of players signed by Jose Mourinho.
United go into Sunday's Manchester derby in third place and 14 points off neighbours and opponents Manchester City, who will soon wrap up their third title in four seasons.
The Red Devils haven't won the league since 2013, with Mourinho one of four bosses who have tried and failed to do what used to come naturally to Sir Alex Ferguson.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer succeeded the Portuguese, but Souness thinks he is saddled with players Mourinho brought to the club, particularly in midfield.
"Scott McTominay is an honest player and, at 24, is only going to get better, but do they win the Premier League with Nemanja Matic and Fred, who they paid £40m and £47m respectively for under Jose Mourinho?" he wrote in his Sunday Times column.
"They are Steady Eddies who will dog it out away from home and protect your back four, but get them on the front foot and there’s no cuteness in their play.
"The midfield is the creative arm of the team and other than Bruno Fernandes, United need someone with cuter passing, who is a better all-round player than what they have now."
But while there are issues in midfield, Souness thinks United's defence is largely solid.
"Much is made of their back four, but you can’t buy 11 new players," he added.
"You strengthen where you are weakest in the squad and, depending on what becomes available, I don’t see the back four as the priority this summer.
"Solskjaer is doing a good job but finishing second with this squad would not have happened in recent seasons – so nobody at United should be fooled into thinking that they are ready to challenge for first next season as things stand."
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