Wayne Rooney has claimed that Manchester United’s problems will not be solved by spending money on big name signings like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi or Gareth Bale.
Speaking to BBC Radio Five Live, Rooney urged Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to pursue cheaper, younger players who have potential to become United regular over the years to come.
United are on the verge of completing their first major transfer of the summer, with Swansea City winger Daniel James set to finalise a £15m move to Old Trafford in the coming days.
Rooney, United’s all-time leading goalscorer, believes that the 21-year-old James is exactly the type of signing that his former club needs to make in order to compete for the Premier League title again.
“For Ole, I think the first thing he’s got to do is try and build the squad,” the DC United forward said. “I don’t think bringing one or two players in for over £100m is going to really help with the squad and the players who are there.
“I think he needs to try and look at maybe five or six players who have got potential to be top players but you’re not spending £120, £130m on these players.
“I think you spend £30million, £40million and then try to improve them, which will also give you longevity out of the players and allow you to build a squad around the five or six new players that come in, plus a few of the players who are still there.
“You could bring Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos and Messi in, or Gareth Bale for instance, and it’s going to cost you £300, £350m, [for] which you’d get what? Maybe two years out of Ronaldo, a couple of years out of Ramos and then you’ve written that money off.”
United finished sixth under Solskjaer at the end of the 2018-19 season, failing to qualify for the Champions League for the third time in the six years since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
Rooney believes that the club’s fans will accept another year or two without competing for major honours, so long as progress is clearing being made and the right players are being brought to the club.
“I just think the club needs to rebuild with younger players,” he added. “But they need to be good enough and allow the manager to improve them. And I think the Man United fans will understand that they are probably not going to compete for the Premier League next year.
“So let them have that time, let Ole have that time to build a team for the next two or three years who are going to compete, not only at Premier League level, but at Champions League level.”