Gary Neville believes Manchester United must sign another centre-back, with Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof only able to take the club so far.
Maguire and Lindelof have proved United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s favoured pairing in the past two seasons.
However, the pair came under attack for their roles in United’s 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Indeed, speaking on commentary for Sky Sports during the game, Neville insisted United must find a new addition.
Analysing Wilfried Zaha’s second strike, he claimed Maguire and Lindelof lack the crucial element of pace.
“Well I think [Zaha’s] had the beating of those two Manchester United centre-backs all day,” Neville said. “He’s got them exactly where he wants them. He’s just not strong enough there Lindelof. It’s a 50/50. It’s weak.
“You can talk about Jadon Sancho all you like, but until they get a centre-back in who can run and defend one-on-one, you’re never going to win a league.
“They’re not going to win the league with that centre-back pairing. They have to get a mobile, quick, dominant centre-back in alongside Lindelof or Maguire. Their defending has been better since Christmas, no doubt, but you’re talking about going up a level.”
Quick centre-backs a Man Utd staple
Neville added that a quick centre-half has proved a key feature of great United teams of the past.
“If you look at all the best centre-half partnerships down the years, they have always had a quick one,” he said (via the Metro).
“Old Trafford is a big pitch and particularly if your full-backs are going forward then you are going to leave your centre-halves one-on-one.
“Over the years, the best Man United centre-back partnerships have always had that really quick one – whether it be Jaap Stam or Rio Ferdinand or Gary Pallister – who has lightning pace to get across and snuff out the danger.
“Lindelof and Maguire just don’t have that.”
Solskjaer: Man Utd need to look in the mirror
Speaking after the game, Solskjaer insisted the need for new additions must be balanced with the potential that still remains in his current crop.
Solskjaer offered little hope of new signings on Friday, urging patience on the transfer front.
After his side’s opening Premier League defeat, however, he claimed better quality from his current players could provide a timely boost.