Cole: Utd hamstrung by Euro absence
Andrew Cole thinks the best players in the world will not want to sign for Manchester United while they are out of the Champions League.
Thanks to their seventh-place finish under David Moyes, United did not qualify for Europe last year for the first time in almost a quarter of a century.
United have been well behind their rivals in the transfer market this summer too despite the appointment of manager Louis van Gaal.
New boys Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera and Marcos Rojo all have potential, but they are currently not in the same league as the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Toni Kroos and Diego Costa, who have all gone to United's rivals in the transfer window.
More signings are expected before the window shuts, but former Red Devils striker Cole thinks United will struggle to sign the very best players.
"I know a lot of people have been complaining about the club not bringing enough players in, but it gets tougher when you don't have European football because if you want to try and bring in the best, you have to entice them with European football," said Cole, who was speaking at the launch of Manchester United and Apollo Tyre's Go The Distance Pitch at Old Trafford.
"Like it or not, every top player wants to play in Europe, and this year we aren't playing in it."
Cole's former team-mate Paul Scholes said he thinks the club needs to sign five new players to stop them slipping into the "wilderness".
United have been linked with a number of other players, including Angel di Maria, Kevin Strootman and Daley Blind.
And Cole believes reinforcements are required quickly.
"I think we need to buy more players," said the former United hitman, who scored 121 times in 275 appearances for the club.
"We need to improve competition for places. If you are going to get stronger you need to buy players.
"And if you want to finish in a higher position you have got to bring in better players.
"You have to make sure your football club does that. I think it has been tough for them."
Cole enjoyed a glittering six-year spell at Old Trafford, winning the Barclays Premier League five times as well as the Champions League.
Despite last weekend's defeat to Swansea, the former England frontman believes Van Gaal will enjoy a successful debut season at Old Trafford.
Cole even thinks the title is not beyond United's reach this term.
"Nothing is above Manchester United," he said. "Many years ago Alan Hansen said you'll never win anything with kids and we won the Premier League that year. Anything is possible."