Paul Ince has commended his former club Manchester United for landing Cristiano Ronaldo this summer. But the former Red Devils star feels that even the arrival of the five-time Ballon d'Or winner will not make the Manchester club title contenders.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had already spent £114 million on Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane prior to Ronaldo's arrival and it did not seem like the Norwegian was looking for more attacking talent. United were linked with midfielders Ruben Neves and Eduardo Camavinga.
However, when it became clear that Ronaldo wanted out of Juventus, the Red Devils made their move despite strong links between the player and neighbours and rivals Manchester City. Ince feels United needed a lift after City signed Jack Grealish for £100 million and Chelsea landed Romelu Lukaku for £98 million.
"I think United needed a lift," Ince said, as quoted by the Irish Independent. "You thought if Manchester City got Harry Kane it was going to be all over. Then (Romelu) Lukaku goes to Chelsea and you think, 'Wow'. United needed a centre-forward for sure."
"Then suddenly, bam, Ronnie's back in town and comes to Old Trafford. It's great for United fans, it's great for the team. You put him alongside (Raphael) Varane and they are serial winners."
The 20-time English champions now have one of the most enviable forward lines in the Premier League with Ronaldo partnering Sancho, Edinson Cavani, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood. Ince is certain that the Portuguese star will provide the goals upfront.
However, despite their impressive attack, Ince believes his former employers are still a bit behind Chelsea and reigning English champions City owing to their midfield. Solskjaer was implored to strengthen his midfield, but failed to make any additions with Fred and Nemanja Matic expected to support Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes.
"Even with Ronnie I still think United are a bit behind City and Chelsea, but they are a lot closer than they would have been," Ince added. "The midfield is an area that's not really been touched...(Jadon) Sancho is going to be a top player, but surely the priority should have been to get a top-class midfielder. I don't think we've got that."
"If you look at the spine of the team, you've got (Harry) Maguire and Varane at the back and the likes of Ronaldo and Rashford up top, it looks strong, but in that middle area it looks a little bit open."