Graeme Souness has argued that Nemanja Matic and Fred are “Steady Eddies” but they are in danger when put on the back foot.
Both midfielders were signed by Jose Mourinho during his reign at Old Trafford between 2016 and 2018. Matic has made 14 Premier League appearances this season, while Fred has played 21 times.
Manchester United currently sit third in the Premier League. They have a chance to move back above Leicester City on Sunday as they face arch-rivals Manchester City at the Etihad.
A win for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will decrease the gap on City to eleven points. Ahead of the derby, Souness suggested that there is “no cuteness” in the way Matic or Fred play.
In his Sunday Times column, he said: “Scott McTominay is an honest player and, at 24, is only going to get better, but do they win the Premier League with Nemanja Matic and Fred, who they paid £40m and £47m respectively for under Jose Mourinho?
“They are Steady Eddies who will dog it out away from home and protect your back four, but get them on the front foot and there’s no cuteness in their play.
“The midfield is the creative arm of the team and other than Bruno Fernandes, United need someone with cuter passing, who is a better all-round player than what they have now.
“Much is made of their back four, but you can’t buy 11 new players.
“You strengthen where you are weakest in the squad and, depending on what becomes available, I don’t see the back four as the priority this summer.
“Solskjaer is doing a good job but finishing second with this squad would not have happened in recent seasons – so nobody at United should be fooled into thinking that they are ready to challenge for first next season as things stand.”