'De Jong would've signed if Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge' - Ex-Man Utd midfielder Ince

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Frenkie De Jong pre-season Barcelona 2022Getty Images

Former Manchester United midfielder and current Reading manager Paul Ince has criticised the Red Devils' failure to strengthen in the transfer market this summer. Ince spent six years at Old Trafford before departing for Inter in 1995, helping his side win two Premier League titles.

Success like that seems distant for the current crop of United players though, with Erik ten Hag's side falling to a 2-1 home defeat against Brighton on the opening day of the season.

In the wake of that result, the club were linked with a shock move for Marko Arnautovic and although that transfer has been shelved due to fan backlash, there is a feeling around the club that reinforcements are required before the window closes.

What Ince has said about the current United midfield?

"Looking at the midfield on Sunday, they definitely need one or two in there at least," Ince told Safe Betting Sites UK.

"I’ve said that last season, that they need at least two holding midfield players with power. I was fortunate enough, when I went to Manchester United as a kid, to play alongside Bryan Robson. He actually made me a better player.

"I think McTominay needs someone like that, maybe one or two in there, just to give him a bit of support. No, he’s not a young kid now, he’s 25, but you’ve seen performances sometimes where you think ‘yeah, this kid can play’.

"Fred is a different kettle of fish. Fred, for me, will give it his all, he’ll try his best, and sometimes you think is he the player that’s going to get Manchester United to where they want to get to? But it’s not about individuals, it has to be about the team.

"They’re good squad players, they can have an impact. To just keep slaughtering them every week is not the way forward. I’m sure Fred and McTominay don’t listen to all that rubbish."

Will United sign Frenkie de Jong?

One player that United have been repeatedly linked with this summer is Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong, and the club have also agreed a transfer fee for Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot. Ince believes both players would improve United in the middle of the park.

"The Frenkie De Jong saga has been, again, a bit of a circus," he said. "If Man United want a player, they go bang, bang, bang and he’s there within two days doing his medical. The fact that initially he wanted to stay at Barcelona, I can understand.

"Barcelona need to obviously get him off the wage bill. I think to lose a player like that to another big club, would be disappointing. You think, you get Rabiot done, if you get Frenkie De Jong in there, all of a sudden Man United look quite decent in the middle of the park.

"But, back in the day, Frenkie De Jong would’ve gone to Manchester United without a doubt. If Fergie was the manager of United, he’d already be there. It shows you that the club, as big as it is globally and financially, these players are saying no."

Who else have United been linked with?

As well as De Jong and Rabiot, the Red Devils are also believed to be considering a deal for PSV Eindhoven winger Cody Gakpo.

Speaking recently, the Dutchman refused to rule out leaving the Eredivisie side this summer.

"We must first focus on and try to make it to the Champions League," he said.

"Then it is more likely that I will stay. I don't think I have said anywhere that I am leaving, so there is definitely a chance that I will stay.

"I'm open for a cup of coffee with the management - or coffee for them and water for me. We'll see how it goes."