Wayne Rooney urges Manchester United to sign 'potential' ahead of star names

Former United striker is a prime example of the club focusing on youth having joined as an 18-year-old before becoming their record goalscorer

May 29, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; D.C. United forward Wayne Rooney (9) is fouled by Chicago Fire midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger (31) while dribbling the ball in the first half at Audi Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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Wayne Rooney has urged Manchester United to focus their summer transfer recruitment strategy on signing players with "potential" and to shun the temptation of bringing in established stars.

United could be set to embark on a major rebuilding job this off-season as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to revive a club that has fallen behind their Premier League rivals in recent years.

Many of the expensive players United recruited over the past few years have failed to hit the heights expected of them. Rooney, meanwhile, is a prime example of a successful United signing who arrived as a youngster with the aim of fulfilling enormous potential.

As United's all-time record goalscorer over 13 years at the club and with a host of trophies to his name – including five Premier League titles – it is safe to say the investment in an 18-year-old Rooney was money well spent.

"For Ole, I think the first thing he's got to do is try and build the squad," Rooney, 33, told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme.

"I don't think bringing one or two players in for over £100 million (Dh468m) is going to really help with the squad and the players who are there.

"I think he needs to try and look at maybe five or six players who have got potential to be top players but you're not spending £120m, £130m on these players.

"I think you spend £30m, £40m and then try to improve them, which will also give you longevity out of the players and allow you to build a squad around the five or six new players that come in, plus a few of the players who are still there.

"You could bring (Cristiano) Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos and (Lionel) Messi in, or Gareth Bale for instance, and it's going to cost you £300m, £350m (for) which you'd get what? Maybe two years out of Ronaldo, a couple of years out of Ramos and then you've written that money off."

Solskjaer is already under pressure following a disastrous end to the season that saw United fall off the pace in the race for the top four, despite a record-breaking start during a spell in interim charge.

However, Rooney, who now plays in the MLS for DC United, believes the Norwegian needs and deserves time to get United back on track.

"I just think the club needs to rebuild with younger players. But they need to be good enough and allow the manager to improve them," he said.

"And I think the Man United fans will understand that they are probably not going to compete for the Premier League next year.

"So let them have that time, let Ole have that time to build a team for the next two or three years who are going to compete, not only at Premier League level, but at Champions League level."