Man Utd have no chance of returning to the top unless they sign someone in the Van Dijk mould

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THREE defeats in four games equal the end of the honeymoon.

Suddenly the battle for a top four spot is looking a great deal tougher.

 Manchester United have lost three out of their last four games in all competitions

Getty Images – Getty

Manchester United have lost three out of their last four games in all competitions
 The Red Devils are desperate for a centre-back in the mould of Virgil van Dijk

Getty – Contributor

The Red Devils are desperate for a centre-back in the mould of Virgil van Dijk

A goal up and still losing, the second at the hands of Wolves in a few weeks.

Then again, if you don’t address a problem, it just gets bigger.

And while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has changed the mood music around Manchester United, he has not fixed the club.

United fans may want to see the club play with elan, with style, with an attacking intent.

To play like Fergie’s boys.

But if you don’t lock the back door, you will get burgled.

Molineux on Tuesday night was proof of that.

NO NATURAL LEADERS

Evidence, without argument, that Solskjaer has no chance of taking United back to the heights of the past without addressing the basic lack of defensive leadership.

Nobody knew that more than the Laird of Old Trafford himself.

One of Ferguson’s first purchases at United was Steve Bruce. Hewn from the North East coalfields.

He added others, regularly, through his reign. Defenders who put their body on the line, who gave nothing away.

Gary Pallister, Ronny Johnsen, Jaap Stam, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic.

Leaders, each of them. The sort of leader this United do not have.

That is not to dismiss the talents of the central defenders at Old Trafford.

Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, both with a wealth of experience for club and country.

The physically impressive Eric Bailly. Sweden’s Victor Lindelof.

None of them, though, are natural cornerstones for a club with genuine ambitions.

Yes, all of them can be used. They are not destined for the pasture, yet.

But Solskjaer needs to go to the United money men and make his pitch.

He cannot get Virgil van Dijk. Not now. Liverpool will hold the Dutchman firmly to their breast.

But United need someone out of the van Dijk mould.

That could be Toby Alderweireld, available for that £25m release clause from Spurs this summer. Although the Belgian is the wrong side of 30.

Or Raphael Varane, seemingly surplus to requirements at Real Madrid.

The fact is that United do need that type of player. However much it takes.

If not, the road back to the top may take somewhat longer to travel. A very long time indeed.

 Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld could be a summer target for United

Getty – Contributor

Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld could be a summer target for United
 Real Madrid ace Raphael Varane could be available at the end of the season

Getty – Contributor

Real Madrid ace Raphael Varane could be available at the end of the season
Wolves 2-1 Manchester United – Wolves beat Man Utd again to scupper Solskjaer’s Champions League charge

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