Gary Neville has warned Manchester United they need a new centre-back more than they need Jadon Sancho after a horror show in their opening Premier League game.
The former United captain said the current side stand no chance of winning the Premier League with Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof at the heart of their defence.
His brutal verdict was delivered as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team were beaten 3-1 by Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Sunday (AEST).
After finishing third in the Premier League last season following a 14-match unbeaten run in the competition, United began 2020-21 with high hopes of another lofty finish.
They want to bring Borussia Dortmund's exciting England winger Sancho to the club, but Neville says their priority should lie elsewhere.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Neville said: "You can talk about Jadon Sancho all you like, but until they get a centre-back in that can run and defend one-on-one, you're never going to win the league.
"They're not going to win the league with that centre-back pairing. They have to get a mobile, quick, dominant centre-back in alongside Lindelof or Maguire."
United were back on domestic duty five weeks after their 2019-20 Europa League trophy hopes were ended by a semi-final defeat to Sevilla.
Neville said United looked "knackered", "so leggy it's untrue" and "well short of Crystal Palace" in the fitness stakes.
Lindelof, the Sweden defender who is in his fourth season at United, was picked apart by Neville for his part in allowing Wilfried Zaha to scythe through and score his second goal and Palace's third.
"He's just not strong enough there, Lindelof," Neville said. "It's a 50-50; he's weak."
Neville questioned what United's response would be to their slow start, in light of many of their rivals making statement signings.
"The usual thing for Manchester United, on the back of something like this, is to react - go and sign a player or two to quell the Twitter and social media voice that will absolutely simmer and boil," Neville said.
"It's been simmering all week I think, particularly with Liverpool doing business today, Chelsea's done it in the last few weeks, [Gareth] Bale's going to Tottenham.
"Why are Manchester United not signing the players they need to bolster this squad - a talented squad?"