Paul Scholes feels Manchester United need players with the quality of Eden Hazard or Kevin De Bruyne to make them Premier League title contenders, but added that even Lionel Messi would struggle in the current side.
United made their worst start to a Premier League season, with Jose Mourinho's men taking just 10 points from their opening seven fixtures.
A remarkable comeback victory over Newcastle United prior to the international break could have kick-started United's campaign, but Scholes does not believe they have the ability to mount a title challenge.
And Scholes name-checked Manchester City duo David Silva and De Bruyne, along with Chelsea's Hazard – the league's leading scorer – as the benchmark, but acknowledged there are no guarantees.
"I look at the current squad and I don't think there's a lack of quality there," Scholes, who won 11 Premier League titles at Old Trafford, told ESPN.
"I do think they miss a couple of real class players that other top teams seem to have.
"I'm thinking of a De Bruyne, Hazard or David Silva, a link player between the midfield and the forwards.
"But it feels like every player who comes into the team struggles. I feel like we could sign Lionel Messi at the moment and he'd struggle in this team."
11 - Eden Hazard has had a hand in 11 goals in his last 11 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions (nine goals, two assists). Productive. pic.twitter.com/3U2wDUtKFY— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) 7 October 2018
United brought in Alexis Sanchez to add a creative spark in January, but Scholes claimed he never believed the Chile forward – who scored the winner against Newcastle with his first goal of the season – was capable of filling the void.
"I know he has qualities and has been a good player, but I never saw him as a United player," added Scholes.
"I saw him as a bit selfish, someone who played for himself sometimes.
"I didn't think he was a player that we needed, especially for that type of money. How would we be able to get rid of him now when he earns those wages?
"The signing felt like it happened just to stop Man City signing him."
United head to Stamford Bridge on Saturday before hosting Juventus in the Champions League.
13. November 2018
|Federer back on track after dismal Thiem display|
|Udinese appoint Nicola after sacking Velazquez|
|Monaco deny they broke rules regarding youth recruitment|
|Del Bosque, Zidane, Lopetegui - The former Castilla coaches Solari follows into Real Madrid hot seat|
|Ozil rejected ´crazy offers´ from Asia, reveals agent|
|Real Madrid appoint Solari on permanent basis|
|LeVert avoids need for surgery, should return this season|
|Neuer confident despite concerns over Bayern Munich form|
|All I ever wanted to do is win, says Sixers signing Butler|
|Pogba: Coming home to United was the best feeling ever|
|Watson among four signing new Bath deals|
|Susanna Dinnage to replace Scudamore as Premier League chief executive|
|Murray commits to Brighton until 2020|
|Rooney rejected chance of pre-World Cup farewell|
|Impressive Anderson thrashes Nishikori|
|Ozil´s Germany absence a ´pity´, says Sane|
|Rooney: I´ll finish my career in the US|
|McIlroy unsure of 2019 European Tour membership|
|Australian Open dismisses concerns of Federer scheduling bias|
|Hue Jackson joins Bengals staff as ´special assistant´|
|Real Madrid confirm Reguilon injury|
|Higuain handed two-match ban for Juve meltdown|
|Kruis ruled out for England as Jones calls up uncapped quartet|
|A year on from Italy failure, Ventura leaves Chievo after four games|
|Bairstow misses out as unchanged England promote Stokes|
|Recalled Alba denies Luis Enrique bust-up|
|´Unhappy´ Christensen won´t push for Chelsea exit|
|Nadal to make Abu Dhabi comeback in December|
|Taijul helps Bangladesh tighten their grip despite Taylor ton|
|Neymar joining Real Madrid wouldn´t hurt Iniesta|
|It´s just team spirit - Livingston not worried by Durant-Green exchange|
|Trippier out of England squad with groin injury|
|Ex-Sri Lanka international Lokuhettige charged by ICC|
|Former England and Chelsea star Joe Cole retires|
|Nets offer support to LeVert following serious leg injury|
|Panenka proud Sergio Ramos imitates his penalties|
|Liverpool´s Alisson seeks patience to reach potential|
|Anthony Davis leads Pelicans, Clippers hold off Warriors in OT|
|Lindelof rues international break for Man Utd|
|Shaqiri confident in more goals for Liverpool|
|Giants too good for 49ers in crunch time|
|Southgate named honorary Yorkshireman|
|Nicky Butt: Manchester United are low on confidence|
|Criticism of Barcelona star Dembele is overblown - agent|
|Thibodeau discusses Butler trade: We thought this was the best deal for us|
|Acuna, Ohtani win rookie of the year awards|
|LeBron James on Lakers’ early season struggles: ‘I almost cracked’|
|Welbeck has successful second operation on broken ankle|
|UEFA warns FFP cases can be reopened based on ´new information´|
12. November 2018
|Foakes to keep England place for second Test|
|WATCH: Rooney looking sharp in England training return|
|Mbappe: Money in football is truly indecent|
|Djokovic back to brilliant best as Isner is beaten|
|Celta Vigo replace Mohamed with Cardoso after Real Madrid defeat|
|Joshua intrigued by Usyk, says Hearn|
|Ibrahimovic beats Rooney to MLS Newcomer award|
|Rams WR Kupp out for season with torn ACL|
|Sturridge denies ever gambling on football following FA charge|
|Koeman understands De Ligt´s Eredivisie frustrations|
|Jimmy Butler trade: 76ers acquire Timberwolves star in blockbuster deal|
|´Improve your attitude´ - Deschamps issues Dembele warning|
|Sturridge charged with misconduct over alleged breach of betting rules|
|Saints sign Marshall following Bryant injury|
|Mendy suffers knee injury, leaves France squad with Lacazette|
|Zverev beats Cilic in error-strewn London battle|
|Rafinha replaces injured Casemiro in Brazil squad|
|´One-dimensional´ Australia batsmen need work before World Cup - Finch|
|Mancini keen to work with ´incredibly gifted´ Tonali|
|Italian manager of the year Allegri targets long Juve stay|
|Injured Lee departs as Wales prepare squad for Tonga|