Rio Ferdinand sees a “huge” summer ahead for Manchester United, with the Premier League’s top sides still “way off” Real Madrid’s standard.
The English top-flight had just one representative in the last eight of this season’s Champions League, with Leicester City the last club standing.
United are now battling to get back into Europe’s premier club competition through the Europa League.
Madrid, meanwhile, are readying themselves for a third final appearance in four years and Ferdinand believes they are the benchmark for Jose Mourinho and those endeavouring to piece together competitive squads in England.
The former Red Devils defender told BT Sport while covering Real’s semi-final duel with Atletico on Wednesday: “All our English teams are way off this standard.
“Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Juventus. There's a lot of money that's come into the English game, but all the English teams seem to be in a transition. New managers, new teams.
“Chelsea are the nearest, they have a real settled team and their first XI is a real, genuine first XI.
“I think Jose Mourinho is still searching for his first XI, he's still not sure of a few players. This summer will be huge for them.”
Former Madrid midfielder Steve McManaman agrees with his fellow ex-England international, pointing to the speculation surrounding the likes of Chelsea forward Eden Hazard and Liverpool playmaker Philippe Countinho as examples of how La Liga remains a better platform than the Premier League.
He said: “I just feel like the English teams are in transition all the time.
“This is Real Madrid's seventh consecutive semi-final. It's no surprise that Madrid, Bayern, Barcelona, Juve, they're getting to the latter stages every single year.
“They change a few little nuances every year. In England it's ‘Oh we've had a bad season, let's rip it up and start again.’ We seem to be chasing all the time. We need a little bit of patience with the managers, we need to keep all of our better players.
“The better players never leave here [Madrid], or at Juve. When we get a star man in the Premier League – Chelsea and Eden Hazard, it's ‘Real Madrid want him’. Coutinho, oh ‘Barcelona want him’. They're looking over their shoulders all the time.”