Harry Kane would be a Manchester United player if the Red Devils were still in a position to attract “the best players in the world” onto their books, says former Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has spent much of the summer chasing down additions that he believes would raise collective standards at Old Trafford.
Landing top targets has proved tricky, though, with a long-running saga involving Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho delivering no end result as the deadline looms.
United have also faced calls to bolster their ranks in defence and up front, but creative midfielder Donny van de Beek remains their only signing as things stand.
Fresh faces may be secured before the latest window closes, with former Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani said to have an agreement in place, but the Red Devils are scratching around for deals.
That was not the case when Sir Alex Ferguson made them a dominant force in English and European football, with Spurs star Kane the kind of player that he would have had his eye on.
Sherwood believes the England captain would have been lured to Manchester in days gone by, but United have slipped so far off the pace – as shown by their 6-1 humbling at the hands of Tottenham on Sunday – that they are no longer able to snap up players of that profile.
“We’ve listened to Man United fans, and quite rightly so, saying they need signings and they need this player and that player,” former Spurs player and coach Sherwood told Premier League Productions.
“You don’t need any players to beat Tottenham. You don’t need any players to beat Crystal Palace. You don’t need any players to beat Brighton.
“But, you need a team that has an idea, and an identity of how to play in possession and out of possession.
“At the moment, they’re relying on world-class players – which they have in abundance – like last week at Brighton with [Marcus] Rashford breaking away and scoring that magnificent goal.
“You need a plan. Against evenly-matched teams like Tottenham, you need a plan.
“Yes, everyone wants them to go and make signings, Man United fans want them to sign the best players in the world.
“They’re not in that market anymore, because that No.10 for Tottenham – if United were in that market, he’d be wearing a Man United shirt.
“Harry Kane would be wearing a Man United shirt if they were in that market anymore, unfortunately, they’re not there. They’re not at that table anymore.
“They need to get the best out of what they’ve got, and they’re not making the best out of it.”