By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Michael Owen has delivered a withering assessment of Louis van Gaal’s spending policy by claiming he has off-loaded better players than he has bought at Manchester United.
The Premier League giants have spent more than £250million on new players since the Dutchman arrived at Old Trafford in the summer of 2014, including the headline purchases of Angel di Maria, Anthony Martial, Memphis Depay and Bastian Schweinsteiger.
But Owen is not convinced by Van Gaal’s transfer policy and questioned whether the players who have departed in the last two windows have been adequately replaced.
United were eliminated from the Champions League on Tuesday night after losing 3-2 to Wolfsburg in their final group match and will now compete in the Europa League after Christmas.
“You look at all the players who have gone and they are better than the ones who have come in,” Owen told BT Sport Europe afterwards. “I was talking with Rio [Ferdinand] earlier. You could name a whole team of them – Rafael, [Nemanja] Vidic, Jonny Evans, Patrice Evra at the back, [Angel] Di Maria, [Tom] Cleverley, [Shinji] Kagawa, Nani, Robin van Persie and Chicharito. You’ve also got Danny Welbeck and [Adnan] Januzaj.
“If that team was to play the current team, the team of the players he has sold would win. Rio and I agreed that only two players of the current team would get into it – Chris Smalling and Michael Carrick. That tells you everything.
“Are there any world-class players in there? David de Gea, definitely. Wayne Rooney maybe, although he hasn’t done it for a while. United are quite a way off at the moment. For that amount of money, you would expect at least four or five world-class players.”
Despite Owen’s assessment, United are fourth in the Premier League table and just three points behind leaders Leicester.
They take on Bournemouth away on Saturday in the Premier League in what is an evening kick-off.