Gary Neville believes Manchester United have a major advantage in the race to catch Liverpool as they will be one of the few clubs who can spend big in the next transfer window.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are currently 37 points behind Jurgen Klopp’s men in the Premier League.
But Neville believes the impact caused by coronavirus on clubs’ finances mean that United will be one of the few major teams in Europe who could afford a huge outlay this summer.
And the former United defender is confident that Solskjaer’s side will now need less time to close the gap between Liverpool.
‘I just wonder now with what’s happened with coronavirus and the economic rest in football, which clubs are really going to be able to buy Pogba for the reputed £80 milllion, £90m, £100m that was being talked about? Which clubs are paying the huge wages that Paul Pogba is on at Manchester United?’ Neville told Sky Sports.
‘I’m not diminishing him as a player, I’m just talking about the economic situation the whole world finds itself in.
‘Paul Pogba may have to, and may want to, sit at Manchester United for the next 12-18 months, and look at the fact he’s got a club he can play at with Bruno Fernandes, Fred, McTominay, Matic, Maguire, Wan Bissaka, Brandon Williams, De Gea in goal, and then Mason Greenwood, Martial and Rashford up front.
‘You look at that as a core group of players who are a really good age. Manchester United still need to add, three, four five players of really high quality to that and Manchester United are in a position to be able to capitalise this summer in the transfer market because they will be one of the clubs who some sort of ability to do some business.
‘And where Manchester United have found it difficult in this last eight years to keep prices and wages down, they’re going to be in a very, very strong position to hold their nerve this summer.
‘And this is a really important summer for Manchester United. If football can get back in the next few weeks, if Manchester United can continue to play the way they were before the lockdown when they were starting to keep clean sheets, had a good defensive record, the midfield was starting to tick, they were still getting goals out of that front three, you start looking at the glass being half full versus it being half empty and being the 30 points or whatever it is away from Liverpool at this moment in time, which means they are a million miles away.
‘I don’t know why it is but I feel a little bit more confident in Manchester United’s ability to challenge next season, just because what’s happened and the fact they started to play a lot better before this lockdown.
‘If we hadn’t had this virus I think Manchester United could have been two or three years away.
‘Where I think there is a massive change for Manchester United in making them competitive next season is that if you were a top player in Europe at this moment in time, and you had the choice of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United would likely lose out on those players to go to those clubs because of where Manchester United are at in the cycle of their team and the development.
‘Out of those eight clubs I just named, I think six of them could be completely redundant in the transfer market in terms of spending £50 million, £60m, £70m, £80m.
‘Manchester United’s ability will still be there to do those things. So the reason I’m a little bit more confident is that the number-one players in the world and in Europe this summer will either stay where they are or they will end up at Manchester City, Manchester United, a club who still has the wealth to compete.
‘That’s why I’m more confident that the salaries that Manchester United will be able to offer this summer and the funds they’ll have to compete in the transfer market will mean they get higher in the chain than they would’ve been previously.
‘Just naming two of those clubs, Juventus and Barcelona have taken staggeringly big, significant cuts. They’ve had to take their cut their wages straight back by 50, 60%.
‘I think those clubs are going to find it difficult in cutting their own players’ players in the way they have to then go and spend £70 million on a player.
‘I think clubs are not in as good a financial shape, I’m talking about the super powers, and they are going to have to have a year off I think, and sit with what they’ve already got.
‘I think Manchester United will have funds above what other clubs will have.’
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