Manchester United should build a team around Paul Pogba but will struggle to attract big-name signings, says Premier League winner Chris Sutton.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer plans to rebuild his squad but cannot offer Champions League football next season.
And although Pogba was a surprise inclusion in the PFA team of the year,Sutton feels United’s record signing, 26, has a future at Old Trafford.
“Manchester United should build the team around Paul Pogba,” he said.
“In my opinion he’s world class. We know there’s a player in there. Did [Jose] Mourinho get the best out of him? No. Did he show signs under Solskjaer that things are turning? Yes.
“If United want to push and be serious about contending for major honours, you need to keep your best players and Paul Pogba is one of those. It’s OK people saying ‘sell him’ but who are you going to replace him with?
“There does need to be a clear-out but the problem is, who’s going to want to go to United?”
Despite Pogba enjoying his most productive season since returning from Juventus in 2016 – he is their top scorer with 16 goals – the Red Devils have missed out on a top-four finish after Sunday’s draw at Huddersfield.
Solskjaer guided United to the quarter-finals of this season’s Champions League but, they will be back in the Europa League next season.
“It’s going to hit Manchester United in the summer in terms of attracting the top players, they want to play in the Champions League,” Sutton added.
“But I don’t get people questioning Solskjaer getting the job. He’s taken over a mess from Mourinho. This isn’t Solskjaer’s team, these are not his signings. I think he’s done a good job to have them even in contention for a Champions League spot.
“There needs to be a bit of calmness at United over the situation. It’s the same group of players that played under Mourinho and Solskjaer has got more out of them.
“They have slipped up of late but Solskjaer is going to be there at the start of next season and he needs backing from the current players and the board in terms of spending.”
A run of 14 wins in Solskjaer’s first 17 games in charge saw United climb into the top four but since then they have won two out of 11, losing seven of them.
“We haven’t deserved to be top-four,” Solskjaer said. “We’ve chased the pack and been given chances, the league is so tight.
“When we got the opportunities we weren’t able to really grab them and today was just a confirmation of a long season because, in the end, the table doesn’t lie.”