Louis van Gaal has been the subject of much criticism this season as Manchester United continue their poor run of form. However, according to Premier League winner and former Red Devil Owen Hargreaves, it is the club’s player recruitment policy that has failed Manchester United.

The Red Devils were left humiliated as they crumbled to a 2-1 defeat against minnows FC Midtjylland in the UEFA Europa League. While most of the criticism has been directed towards manager Louis van Gaal, Owen Hargreaves has raised an interesting point as he holds their transfer policy responsible for their recent failures.

“I don’t think Manchester United will make a change but first of all it is David Moyes’ fault, then it was Louis van Gaal’s fault,” Hargreaves told BT Sport.

“At what point does the club take some responsibility for the way they’ve recruited players?

“The best players don’t play for Manchester United anymore right now. Some of the best individual players, they’re going to Manchester City, they’re at Chelsea, they’re at Arsenal. Manchester United need to look at themselves and say, ‘what is our direction? How do we want to play? What is our philosophy again?’ Then they need to start recruiting players to play in that fashion.”

A failed recruitment policy

Manchester United have spent upwards of 320 million pounds in the two transfer windows that Louis van Gaal has overseen at Old Trafford. Yet big money signings have failed to bring success on the pitch for the club. Angel di Maria’s short tryst with the Red Devils epitomizes their transfer woes.

The Argentine winger was signed from Real Madrid for 59.7 million pounds, but after a relatively underwhelming season at United, where he scored only 4 goals in 32 appearances, he was sold on to PSG for an estimated 44 million pounds. Di Maria is now playing to his full potential at the French club as he recently received the Man of the Match award against Chelsea in their Champions League Round of 16 first-leg meeting.

Big signings like Memphis Depay and Bastian Schweinsteiger have also failed to make an impact following their arrival at the club.  As Hargreaves said, this seems to indicate that United are not recruiting the right players to match their playing philosophy.