Edinson Cavani dragged United back into Wednesday’s contest as he cancelled out Gerard Moreno’s opener in the 55th minute but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men came up short in what was an epic penalty shootout, with Geronimo Rulli denying David de Gea’s decisive spot-kick.
Eric Bailly started alongside Victor Lindelof at the heart of the defence in Gdansk, with captain Harry Maguire only fit enough to make the substitutes bench after failing to fully recover from ankle ligament damage.
And while Lindelof has established himself as Solskjaer’s favoured partner for Maguire this term, he didn’t exactly cover himself in glory with his defending in Poland, losing Moreno for Villarreal’s opening set-piece goal.
Bailly also produced a less-than-convincing display and Ferdinand implored the Red Devils to invest in a new centre-half this summer, while also talking up moves for West Ham midfielder Declan Rice and Borussia Dortmund forward Jadon Sancho.
‘I’m going out and buying a centre-back, Marquinhos maybe if you can go and get someone like him,’ the ex-United and England defender told his Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE YouTube channel.
‘They’re talking about Varane, I don’t know, for experience. But as long as they’ve got pace then that’s a good start.
‘I’d look at somebody like Declan Rice, I’d look at someone like Sancho. These are the types of players that would improve Man United’s team.
‘The manager has got big decisions to make because when he brings these players in it means people have got to sit on the bench.
‘Big decisions but that’s what Ole is paid for.’
Though keen on Marquinhos and Varane, Ferdinand believes the recent success of Virgil van Dijk and Ruben Dias proves United don’t necessarily have to sign from top European teams to transform their defence.
‘It’s not about just the level of player that you’re going to bring in or their ability as a football player, it’s also about their character,’ he added.
‘You’ve got to bring the right characters in, the right people in that are going to get people around them and bring them along and drag them and make them better players around them.
‘Two of the most important players over the last two years at Liverpool and Manchester City have been the catalyst for those teams to go on and be successful. Two centre-backs who have made other people around them better: Van Dijk and Ruben Dias.
‘Did they come from two teams that dominated Europe and were the biggest teams around in Europe? No. One came from Southampton, wasn’t playing Champions League football and one came from Benfica who weren’t an absolute dominating team in Europe.
‘It doesn’t always have to be a player that comes from a dominant team and has done everything in the game. Sometimes it’s about recruiting the right type player and that comes down the recruitment.’
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