Manchester United have been warned by Patrice Evra that their fall from grace could emulate similar slumps experienced by AC Milan and Liverpool, with there an alarming lack of talent at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils once dominated the English and European football scenes, with Sir Alex Ferguson overseeing an unprecedented era of success.
United claimed the Premier League title on 13 occasions and were regulars in Champions League finals, lifting the most prestigious of European trophies in 1999 and 2008.
They have suffered a humbling tumble down domestic and continental pecking orders since then, with the 2018-19 campaign delivering a sixth-place finish and no major silverware.
Former defender Evra believes too many mistakes have been made in recent years, with United having failed to bring the required level of quality onto their books despite spending big.
He told Sky Sports of the playing staff in Manchester: “I will be honest with you, I love all of them. I see them a lot - when I go to the games, I visit them in the dressing room and encourage them - they know how much I love them.
Evra added on the slippery slope that United now find themselves on: “I think one of the most important things the club has to resolve is hiring a director of football. It's going to be hard to find the right man.
“I've got the fear, even though I am positive, I don't want United to become like Liverpool, AC Milan or Arsenal were - they have to wait many years to get back at the top. The future doesn't look bright.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the latest manager to have been charged with the task of restoring former glories to Old Trafford, with a man who enjoyed considerable success as a player being asked to replicate those triumphs as a coach.
The Norwegian has conceded that he faces a tough task, with Evra also of the opinion that there is much work to be done.
Quizzed on what United are missing, the Frenchman said: “I will say it is the spirit and the passion for the club. I know I am talking 'old school'. I don't want to blame the players because I think that some players are here and they themselves don't even know why they are here.
“They don't have leadership in the dressing room to show them what it means to play for Manchester United. In our time, I remember I played nine years for United and for seven years I don't think I lost two games in a row
“When I met Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill in Monaco at the time, when they interviewed me, they asked me questions like 'are you going to be ready to not lose any games?' and 'are you ready to play only at the top of the game and get criticised for a normal game?' You had figures at the club who tell you what you are going to represent.
“The problem now is on the pitch but also off the pitch.”