The Red Devils opened their new Premier League campaign – the first of Erik ten Hag’s reign in charge – with a 2-1 defeat at home to Brighton on Sunday.
Christian Eriksen was deployed with little success as a false nine due to the injured Anthony Martial’s absence, while wantaway Cristiano Ronaldo was not deemed fit enough to start.
United are short on options up top – though have been linked, rather surprisingly, with a move for Marko Arnautovic – while their summer-long pursuit of Barcelona midfielder De Jong remains at an impasse.
Even if United’s hierarchy do manage to convince De Jong to leave Barcelona, Neville feels the summer window simply has not been good enough given the scale of the rebuild required and believes more additions are needed.
Speaking on Sky Sports after the Brighton loss, Neville explained: ‘There would seem to be this feeling that if Manchester United get Frenkie de Jong it will have been a successful window, but no.
‘They needed a lot more than just Frenkie de Jong. They might not get Frenkie de Jong, hopefully they do because obviously he’s an important player to the coach.
‘But then that would feel like, “Oh they’ve spent £70m or £65m, that’s a good window”. No, they needed more than that.
‘There will be a bit of panic. They shouldn’t do, but there will that little bit of panic because the pressure will be big from the fans, from the media.’
All three of United’s new additions played against Brighton – Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez started while Tyrell Malacia came off the bench late on – but interim boss Ralf Rangnick previously suggested the club needed as many as 10 new additions to overhaul their squad.
Neville feels United’s hierarchy have not done enough to replenish and elevate the squad this summer, while he is concerned by Ten Hag’s reliance on players from the Eredivisie; Malacia and Martinez both came straight from the Netherlands, while Eriksen and De Jong previously played for Ajax.
He explained: ‘You’ve got to be concerned about every element of the recruitment. Their reliance on the Dutch league means the recruitment of the 50 or 60 people they’ve got working in that department is not being trusted by the manager because he wants those players he knows from Holland.
‘Holland has not always been the most precise market for the Premier League. There have been good players that have come from Holland but it’s not the market that has the biggest hit rate so I am concerned about that.
‘But generally there is a bit of despair just at the fact that the coach – who is an outstanding coach – has not been given the tools that he needs at the start of the season so he can start with a new, revitalised squad.’
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