Manchester United could miss out on Champions League, says Gary Neville 

Anthony Martial of Manchester United
Anthony Martial of Manchester United

Former Manchester United player Gary Neville predicted his former side would miss out on a top-four finish this season.

The Red Devils will officially begin life under the highly rated Erik ten Hag this weekend when they face Brighton. They have signed three players this summer and enjoyed a strong pre-season where they recorded big wins against Liverpool and Crystal Palace.

But speaking before the Premier League opener between Arsenal and Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Friday, former player Neville revealed that he does not expect them to qualify for the Champions League this season unless they can complete the signing of their long-term target, Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona.

“I don’t think United with their current squad will finish fourth, but if they bring De Jong and a striker in, it’s a different story,” he said.

Manchester United have so far signed Lisandro Martinez from Ajax, Tyrell Malacia from Feyenoord and free agent Christian Eriksen. But they have been unsuccessful in their quest for their number one summer target, De Jong. The Dutch midfielder is reluctant to leave the Nou Camp as he is being owed wages by the Spanish club, who are desperate to sell him to find their transfers.

However, there remains some hope that he could yet join the Red Devils this summer.

Meanwhile, Neville has argued that Manchester United’s pre-season form cannot be taken as a basis for judging their performance.

Speaking about their fixture at home to Brighton on Sunday, the former England international said: 

“I don’t know what will happen on Sunday. I liked what I saw pre-season, but Brighton at Old Trafford will be tough.”