Ex-Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has suggested that the signings of Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini marked a turning point for the club.
Sir Alex Ferguson left Old Trafford in 2013 after guiding the Red Devils to a 13th Premier League title, with David Moyes drafted in from Everton as his replacement.
Moyes was sacked after just ten months at the helm, following a poor run of results which saw United slide out of the top six, which marked their worst showing in the Premier League since the competition’s formation.
Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho both also failed to restore former glories at the Theatre of Dreams in the years that followed, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the latest man to inherit the poisoned chalice.
Club legend Scholes has now highlighted the two signings he feels triggered United’s decline, insisting Mata and Fellaini were never the right fit for the club.
Both men were brought in during Moyes’ doomed tenure and Scholes feels the combination of changes in the dugout and in the boardroom led to a drastic shift in the club’s transfer policy.
“When you look five or six years ago when Alex left, the other person who didn’t get the credit he deserved was David Gill,” Scholes told Radio Five Live.
“He was a football man and he knew footballers. From the day he and Sir Alex left, it has been difficult.
“I think the alarm bells rang straight away when David (Moyes) took over and signed Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini for £70m.
“They are good players but I don’t think they were Man Utd players. I don’t think Sir Alex and David Gill would have signed those players.
“We are in this position now because we have signed players who are not Man Utd players. Ole is in there now and trying to put it right.”
Solskjaer managed to bring in Harry Maguire from Leicester City, Welsh winger Daniel James and English full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka during the summer, placing a focus on targeting young, homegrown talent to rebuild the squad.
All three men have settled in well at Old Trafford, but United have continued to underwhelm on the pitch, with only two wins from their first eight matches at the start of the 2019-20 season.
Despite the team’s poor form, Scholes insists Solskjaer should be given more time to turn things around and points to his recent success in the transfer market as proof of his managerial credentials.
“I think four or five transfer windows, and they have to be good transfer windows,” he added.
“Ole’s first three signings have been good and promising. As long as he is in charge of the players coming in, I don’t see a problem.
“We hope it goes to back challenging for titles and Champions Leagues.”