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Paul Scholes: Write Off Manchester United for 2 Seasons While They Rebuild

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2019

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 31: Oriol Romeu of Southampton tackles Marcus Rashford of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Manchester United at St Mary's Stadium on August 31, 2019 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Manchester United legend Paul Scholes has said the Red Devils need to be written off for the next two years while they rebuild.

Scholes' comments came after United gave away the lead on Saturday against Southampton in the Premier League, with the match ending 1-1.

Speaking on Premier League TV (h/t Sam Wallace of the Telegraph), Scholes said United need "four or five transfer windows" before they can once again be considered contenders next to Manchester City and Liverpool at the summit of the division.

"United are United," said Scholes. "I think you almost have to write United off for the next two years, this team. I think until Ole Gunnar has cleared everything he wants out, there's four or five transfer windows, United are going to be behind Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham."

Manchester United's Welsh midfielder Daniel James (L) celebrates scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Manchester United at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on August 31, 2019.
GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

The Red Devils had taken the lead on the road against Southampton after Daniel James finished in style after 10 minutes. United dominated the first half but could not find a way of doubling their advantage.

Saints came back into the match in the second half, and Jannik Vestergaard beat Victor Lindelof in the air to head past David De Gea after 58 minutes. United swarmed the hosts in the closing stages, but the visitors lacked the creativity or cutting edge needed to take the points.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was upbeat after the game and said his team are learning new methods, per Wallace.

"We have a clear plan," Solskjaer said. "We believe in the players and the way we do things. You can say that it's a long-term one, but we deserved to win the last three games as well. The one thing you cannot control in football is results and outcomes. You can control the effort, the attitude, what we're doing in training. We're on the right track; we're working. We have plenty of quality."

Despite a set of frustrating results to open the season, United have made improvements in terms of their physical condition and attacking intent.

Solskjaer is yet to fully unleash Mason Greenwood, and the 17-year-old striker is on the brink of a starting role at Old Trafford. The youngster came off the bench at St Mary's but only had a nine-minute cameo to make an impression.

The Norwegian coach has repeatedly hinted it will take an extended period to rebuild United after three failed managerial tenures. David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho could not find the formula to repeat United's perennial success.

Solskjaer has a youthful squad, and the additions of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire have strengthened the defence. However, the over-reliance on Paul Pogba remains, and the World Cup winner cannot be both United's primary creative talent and the midfield's enforcer.

A full summer transfer window is needed for Solskjaer to sign his next wave of new players and for the opportunity to further sell individuals he no longer requires.