The former Red Devils striker doesn’t think the club can solve its crisis in the transfer market alone and is cautious about links to Gareth Bale
Michael Owen doesn’t think that Manchester United can overhaul their squad in just one transfer window, but backed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to promote young players to boost his side’s fortunes.
Many have been calling for a clear-out at Old Trafford this summer but the ex-United, Liverpool and Real Madrid forward doesn’t believe it’s possible for United to extract value for players if they try to offload too many.
He did say he sees some hopes of recovery for United under Solskjaer, but admitted he also saw a regression.
“It’s quite hard to get rid of more than three or four players in one window, particularly if you want something in return,” Owen told Press Association Sport.
“I thought I had a better handle on United in that I believed they were a better team than they had shown under David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and [Jose] Mourinho.
“And we saw that for a dozen games or so when Solskjaer came in but there was a relapse.”
Owen believes United’s failure to qualify for the Champions League will hurt any recruitment drive, suggesting instead they look within the club structure.
“The squad obviously needs some surgery and it won’t be easy without Champions League football next season – great players want that,” the 39-year-old continued.
“So I don’t think it’s realistic that they’re going to be able to make 10 changes in one summer.
“One thing I’m sure we’ll see under Solskjaer next season is a big push on youth.
“I expect we’ll see four or five of their talented youngsters step up from the academy and I think one or two of those could go on to be proper Manchester United players in the future.”
Owen was not so certain of the financial wisdom of signing Gareth Bale, a player he is well-placed to understand.
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Bale has cut an increasingly isolated figure at Real Madrid this year, a club where Owen spent one difficult season, and he sympathises with the Welsh winger.
“I wouldn’t want to be somewhere I wasn’t wanted and if Gareth feels he isn’t getting the love he deserves than maybe it is time he came back.
“I’m sure there are lots of clubs that would love to have him but he’s at the point in his career when he’s not an investment anymore.
“There would be no sell-on value, signing him would be about the here and now.”