Manchester United need to bring in another centre-half alongside Harry Maguire and look to recreate the formidable partnership that Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic once formed, says Dimitar Berbatov.
The Red Devils invested a record-breaking £80 million ($106m) in the services of England international Maguire during the summer of 2019.
Maguire delivered an immediate return on that show of faith, with the captain’s armband handed to him when Ashley Young departed Old Trafford in January.
He was paired with Victor Lindelof on a regular basis by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but calls for another option to be drafted in are growing in intensity.
Berbatov has added his voice to those calling for more money to be spent at the back, with United urged to look to the past for inspiration in the present.
The former Red Devils striker told Stadium Astro when asked where Solskjaer needs to add: “I think in defence, a centre-back is something that they need to look for.
“If they are going to buy someone or not we are going to see, but I think that is where they need to strengthen. Everything else at the moment looks balanced.
“For me they need someone who can accommodate Harry Maguire. Harry is more of a guy for getting the ball out of the defence and giving it to the midfield, so maybe someone who is different to that but also strong. They need to copy the Rio and Vida partnership from the past.”
United have completed their first signing of the current window, with Netherlands international midfielder Donny van de Beek joining in a £35m ($46m) deal from Ajax.
Berbatov said of that arrival: “It’s getting crowded in the midfield department but that’s a good thing because competition is always healthy. They will get the best out of each other.
“There is going to be [Paul] Pogba, him and Bruno Fernandes – that is exciting. The team is getting compact in a really nice way. Maybe they will surprise us with one or two more signings.”
Solskjaer is expected to dip back into the market, amid links to the likes of Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho, but Berbatov is not convinced that another attacker is required.
The Bulgarian said: “I’ve said it many times, for me [Anthony] Martial, Marcus Rashford, [Mason] Greenwood have great potential to become even better – especially Greenwood.
“I think with the season he had for United, with the goals and the way he was moving on the pitch, I think he deserves this season to be given more playing time because he deserved it.
“He scored goals every time Ole gave him a chance and I think he will be given more time to shine. And with Martial and Rashford in there, proven scorers in world football, I think they can develop and become better.”