Manchester United have been told they made a glaring error in the transfer market this summer window.
Having finished as runners-up to Manchester City last season, key figures responsible for incomings and outgoings at Old Trafford issued a triple statement of intent – signing Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo.
United were, however, unable to complete a follow-up pursuit for a top-level defensive midfield player.
Manchester Evening News understands that has, instead, been earmarked as a priority for next summer and West Ham star Declan Rice is still thought to be target number one in that regard.
A heavy and humiliating defeat to Liverpool piled pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer before his side reacted with a 3-0 victory at Tottenham this weekend.
But could all of his current issues at Old Trafford have been solved by pushing the boat out for Rice?
Speaking on radio station talkSPORT, the former Premier League striker, Darren Bent, said: “You look at last season and United were one of the highest-scoring teams in the league. They might’ve been the highest-scoring team, they were certainly up there.
“Clearly, their priority was not an attacking player. Listen, I get it… if Ronaldo is there you have to bring him home. I 100 per cent get that.”
Asked if signing Rice would turn United into contenders for the Premier League and Champions League, Bent said: “Of course it does. They are probably more than that [one player short].
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“Having someone like Declan in that holding role… if they had Declan Rice and Klopp or Guardiola in charge.
“With that squad, they would be challengers. I don’t think they’d win it, but they would be doing better than they are now. They’d look more consistent.”