When Manchester United won the Champions League in 2007-08, they boasted a team worthy of being called the best in the world. Cristiano Ronaldo was coming off a then-ridiculous 42-goal season, and Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez were two of the world's best forwards.
Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand were both still in their prime and nearly impossible to beat in defense. Paul Scholes was still a midfield magician, and Ryan Giggs an experienced but still pacey wide midfielder.
The team was so good that names like Owen Hargreaves, Gerard Pique, Nani and Anderson served as rotation players or just backups over the course of the 2007-08 season.
Four years forward, the silverware has certainly not decreased at Manchester United; in fact, the club have picked up two Premier League titles, two League Cups and one Club World Cup in addition to a number of runner-up finishes.
But while Sir Alex Ferguson has managed to keep the silverware coming in, the squad's quality has greatly dropped. Many of the stars of 2007-08 have aged and have not been adequately replaced. Many also don't seem to have a heir apparent in the current United squad.
If Sir Alex Ferguson's team hopes to reclaim the Champions League this season, they'll need to make up that gap in squad quality between now and 2007-08. Here are five ways they can work to do this.