During Fergie's reign, I think there were generally 4 kinds of squad player: Punts - bought for low prices, often about £5m. Many punts didn't work out. Some punts were huge successes and became starters. Failures stayed for about a season, if that, then left. Stalwarts - not quite good enough to start matches when everyone is fit but they often saw action. Players like: John O'Shea, Fletcher. They were genuine reserves and essential. Rejects - players found lacking, and likely leaving in the first available transfer window. Rotation players. Would not start in the strongest 11 but often played. Like Ole. Compare then to now. Today, too many squad players are rejects, who just never left. The quality of the squad is not good enough because rejects haven't been identified quickly enough and moved out. There seems to be an attitude of "make rejects squad players". We pretend to ourselves they will somehow come good. It's very wrong. Replacing them need not cost a fortune if replaced with free, or near end-of-contract players. LvG made use of free contracts when he brought Romero and Valdés. Free and near end-of-contract signings are a useful way to move Lingard, Mata, Matic and another out this January. They can be replaced by: Mertens, Fraser, Mandzukic and Rakitic for a total of £50m - £60m, ignoring any money we get for the surplus players. The first 3 I want to bring in have contracts ending next June. Rakitic hasn't been playing this season. He wants out. Barca need EUR 200m - 300m to bring Neymar back and balance their books, under pressure from FFP. We rarely need to make punts any more because the youth ranks and scouting setup are better. We may now have a dozen or more youth good enough to one day play for the first team as regulars, reserves, or rotators. I hope some of them will be ready when the veterans I want to sign are ready to hang up their boots.