Man Utd have been criticised for making ‘expensive mistakes’ in the transfer market which has seen them fall behind their rivals.
Since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, United have spent over £1billion on transfer fees, and had a number of high-profile flops.
Alexis Sanchez, Memphis Depay and Angel Di Maria are among those who failed to hit it off at Old Trafford, while the jury is still out on several other big-money stars at the club.
And former Red Devils defender Rafael da Silva has blasted the club’s recruitment strategy, and feels United should be focusing more on a player’s character than his price tag.
“It has taken too long to get back on track,” Rafael told ESPN. “It’s been seven years [without a Premier League title]. We did some things wrong. We started signing expensive players and giving them a lot of money. I don’t agree with that. Just because a player costs £150 million does not mean he’s good for the team. It depends on the character of the player.”
United have still been forking out huge sums on new signings, but with a more measured approach.
The likes of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes have all joined in deals worth in excess of £50m, but are showing the traits expected and desired of a United player.
There has been a clear change in strategy under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, which wasn’t evident under previous post-Fergie bosses, particularly Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho.
“I think that’s where we made mistakes, we started to just buy players,” Rafael continued. “I think it has to be a mix. You have to buy some expensive players but not all. I am a supporter too and I know they want the best players but let’s see if he’s the best player for Manchester United, let’s see if he is going to work.”
United have been linked with a number of big names in the transfer market this summer, with Jadon Sancho, Jack Grealish and Harry Kane all rumoured to be heading to Old Trafford.
But Rafael issued a word of caution to those making the key decisions at his old club.
“They should go for the players who want to play for Manchester United. Not just because Manchester United are going to pay you,” he added. “Look at Chicharito [Javier Hernandez]. How hard did he play for Manchester United? He wanted to play. How much did Manchester United pay for him? Not much. You have to be clever. You have to see that the player wants to play for Manchester United.”