Manchester United will struggle to return to the Premier League's summit this season because too many top players have left and not enough signings made, according to former midfielder Paul Scholes.
The 20-time English champions slumped to seventh last season during the short reign of David Moyes, but even with seasoned title winner Louis van Gaal in the Old Trafford hot seat, Scholes is not expecting a title challenge.
"I think the title is between City and Chelsea, they've both made decent signings," Scholes said in Friday's Daily Mirror on the eve of the new Premier League season.
"The next two places are United, Liverpool and Arsenal. United will be looking for a better season than the last and that shouldn't be too difficult.
"I'm sure Van Gaal would have liked to have signed more players. Midfield is where I thought they might have brought in a couple."
United, who start with a home match against Swansea City on Saturday, have signed midfielder Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao and full back Luke Shaw from Southampton but have lost the likes of Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra.
While Van Gaal still has time to strengthen the squad, Scholes is surprised United have not been more active.
Scholes remains optimistic though that Van Gaal, who he describes as a "mad genius" will begin the process of returning United back towards the summit.