If Manchester United keeps “shopping in Primark” for players like Marko Arnautovic, they will no longer be the biggest club in the world.

According to Paul Merson, a former Arsenal and England forward, United supporters deserve better. When United attempted to sign former West Ham striker Arnautovic, 33, who now plays for Bologna in Serie A, there was a stir at Old Trafford.

And ultimately, fan pressure prevented the move from happening, which Merson believes only serves to highlight how far United has fallen.

“I have no idea what is going on at Old Trafford, but they keep making the same errors in the transfer market. You can’t really blame the fans for asking, “What is going on here.” United needs to replace Arnautovic with players who are more capable of helping them return to the top four. Even in the top half of the table, there are probably not many teams that would sign him.

“United should be shopping for expensive items, not down at the other end of the high street as it is right now. The more time that passes, the harder it is for them to retain that aura they once had.

United used to be the biggest club in the world, but they are now beginning to lose ground. Because they are so far behind Manchester City and Liverpool, it might be a while before they win the title again.

“Manchester United shirts aren’t really worn by that many people anymore, do you notice? People have changed. It’s more of a case of how the mighty have fallen now that other teams have occupied that position at the top of the tree. If I’m being completely honest, the manager probably can’t believe what he’s walked into because, if he didn’t already know how far behind they are, he now does. I’m not sure how he does it, really. However, United needs a five-year plan to rise to the top, and no one appears to be making such long-term plans. It’s really depressing to see, and if they lose this weekend at Brentford, serious concerns will be raised. It will be crisis time already.”

Merson believes the current United team is completely wrong because they continue to rely on players who wouldn’t be selected for a team in the bottom half of the standings. They lost to Brighton at home, and it was the same old story, he said. If you want to win football games, you must control the midfield. Fred and Scott, however, are not in control of anyone. I don’t mean to sound awful, but would Frank Lampard sign those two players for Everton? I have my doubts.

“It all becomes clear from that. Even if you have the most talented players up front, they will only be as good as the players you have supporting them. The other issue is that, despite being a wise purchase, Christian Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes can’t really play on the same team. They overlap too much. They’re going to obstruct each other. The same player plays both of them.”

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