All-time Premier League top scorer Alan Shearer has taken a scathing swipe at Manchester United (opens in new tab) as the Red Devils' search for a new striker goes on.
Atletico Madrid (opens in new tab)'s Alvaro Morata is the latest centre-forward to be linked with a switch to United, who dropped their interest in signing Marko Arnautovic from Bologna earlier this week.
United are short of options up front following Edinson Cavani's departure at the end of last season.
And Shearer had some strong views to offer on the 13-time Premier League champions' approach to transfers.
Analysing United's chastening 4-0 defeat at Brentford (opens in new tab) on Match of the Day, the Newcastle (opens in new tab) and Blackburn legend – who United tried to sign in 1996 – said (opens in new tab):
"[United's] recruitment's been terrible at times.
"I'm convinced that someone from Man United leaked the story linking them with Arnautovic, just to see what the reaction was. The reaction was that bad, they then had to pull out; I'm pretty convinced that that was [the case].
"But I think that sort of sums up where Manchester United are. They're in a mess and it's going to take time; it's going to take an unbelievable amount of money to get things right inside the football club and in terms of the right recruitment – and it's going to take a lot of patience from the Manchester United fans because where [the club is] now to where they want to be: miles away..."
Would Morata – who, according to The Athletic (opens in new tab), United have held talks with Atletico over – help start to fix the considerable mess at Old Trafford? Well, that's debatable.
The 29-year-old flattered to deceive during his previous spell with an English club, scoring only 24 goals in 72 appearances for Chelsea (opens in new tab).
He has just enjoyed a solid couple of campaigns on loan with Juventus (opens in new tab), but the January arrival of Dusan Vlahovic saw him shunted out to an unfamiliar left-wing role.
So, perhaps a fresh start is just what the two-time Champions League winner needs – and with Cristiano Ronaldo looking set to stay, he likely wouldn't be burdened with the expectation of carrying the Red Devils' main goal threat.
It's been an underwhelming transfer window for United, but Erik ten Hag has insisted that the club will pull out all the stops to "convince" players to join – and Morata does seem like one who could be persuaded.
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